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Chinese Embassy in Tonga Hosts Welcome Reception for the Visit of the Hospital Ship Ark Peace to Tonga

In the evening of August 13, 2018, the Chinese Embassy in Tonga hosted a welcome reception for the visit of the Chinese Naval Hospital Ship Ark Peace to the Kingdom of Tonga. Over 100 distinguished guests including Honorable Deputy Prime Minister Semisi Sika, Ministers of Agriculture, Education, Police and other Ministries, Members of Parliament, officials from His Majesty’s Armed Forces, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, and representatives from the Chinese Community and Chinese institutions attended the reception.

In his speech, His Excellency Wang Baodong, Chinese Ambassador to Tonga warmly welcomed the re-visit of Ark Peace to Tonga after its first visit four years ago, and thanked the Tongan side for the careful arrangement. He said that since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have maintained frequent exchanges at the top and other levels with fruitful results in various areas, which have brought tangible benefits to the two peoples. The important consensus on pushing for new and greater achievements in the development of the China-Tonga Strategic Partnership reached by the two Heads of State during His Majesty King Tupou VI’s State Visit to China has chartered course for the future development of bilateral relations.

Ambassador Wang pointed out that the second visit of Ark Peace, as an important part of events to jointly celebrate the 20th anniversary of the normalization of relations between China and Tonga, will further strengthen mutual trust and friendship between the two countries and the two armed forces. The development of bilateral relations has broad prospect. In the spirit of mutual respect and common development, China is ready to work with the Tongan side to further enhance exchanges and collaboration in various fields to promote the bilateral Strategic Partnership to a new level, and jointly make new contribution to the peace, stability and development of the Pacific Island Region.

Deputy Prime Minister Sika expressed appreciation to Ark Peace for its humanitarian and goodwill mission in Tonga. He said that since the two countries established diplomatic ties, their relations have been developing and flourishing with ongoing progress of warm cooperation and ever growing people-to-people exchanges. The visit of Ark Peace is the testament of the strong ties between the two countries. The Tongan government is grateful for China’s contribution and assistance in the development in various areas of Tonga. He wished the visit every success.

Commander of Ark Peace,Rear Admiral Guan Bailin said that Ark Peace’s performance of the task of the Mission Harmony 2018 and second visit to Tonga this year will continue the friendship, deepen mutual understanding and expand consensus between the two sides. The medical staff from Ark Peace will work closely with the Tongan side in making efforts for the health and happiness of the Tongan people. He believed that with the guidance of the Chinese Embassy and support from friends of all walks of life of Tonga, the visit will write a new colorful chapter for the 20th anniversary of the China-Tonga diplomatic relations.

Colonel Fifita, Assistant Chief of Defence Staff of His Majesty’s Armed Forces (HMAF) of Tonga welcomed Ark Peace to Tonga on behalf of the Chief of Defence Staff. He said that the visit will further enhance mutual understanding and consolidate friendly relations of mutual respect between the two armed forces. HMAF sincerely appreciates China’s support and assistance for HMAF’s capability as well as human resources development.

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