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Wen Delivers Keynote Speech at China-Pacific Island Forum
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Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a keynote speech "Win-win Cooperation for Common Development" at the opening of the First Ministerial Conference of the China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum in Nadi, Fiji, on Wednesday.


Wen said it is a strategic decision, not a diplomatic expediency, for China to foster friendship and cooperation with the Pacific island countries.


China firmly adheres to the path of peaceful development and pursues a policy of peace, development and cooperation in international affairs.


China is committed to "promoting peace and development through cooperation," and will continue to strengthen its friendship and cooperation with the Pacific island countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, said Premier Wen.


Politically, China maintains that all countries, whether big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal members of the international community and should treat each other as such.


China respects the social systems of the Pacific island countries and the development strategy they have adopted based on their national conditions and their efforts in safeguarding sovereignty and independence and preserving peace and stability in the region.


Economically, China shares the joy over the achievements of the Pacific island countries and is keenly aware of the difficulties they face in their development endeavor.


Wen said China is committed to implementing the UN Millennium Development Goals and helping the Pacific island countries improve capacity for self-development. China is ready to provide assistance without any political strings attached to the Pacific island countries to the best of its ability.


In international affairs, China strives to uphold the rights and interests of the developing countries, including the Pacific island countries, said the Chinese premier.


As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China supports the Pacific island countries in pursuing their legitimate interests regarding maritime resources exploration and protection, climate change and other issues and their right to equal participation in regional and international affairs.


Wen promised to offer three billion yuan (about US$374 million) of preferential loans in the next three years to boost cooperation between the business communities of China and the Pacific island countries.


Wen said the move is made as part of efforts to meet the current need of the Pacific Island countries.


He said the preferential loans will be used to strengthen cooperation in development of resources, agriculture, forestry, fishery, tourism, textiles and consumer products manufacturing.


The premier added that the preferential loans will also be used to develop telecommunications, aviation and ocean shipping.


He said the Chinese government will also set up a special fund to encourage Chinese companies to invest in the Pacific island countries.


The premier also announced that to support the Pacific island countries in developing their economy and ease their debt burden, China will give zero-tariff treatment to the majority of exports to China from the least developed countries in the region that have diplomatic ties with China.


Wen said China will provide free anti-malaria medicines to the island countries affected by the disease in the next three years to help them to treat malaria.


China will continue to send medical teams to the island countries and conduct annual training courses for health officials, hospital managers and medical researchers of these countries, he added.


Wen said China is also ready to exchange information on bird flu prevention and control, and cooperate with the island countries in various ways in this field.


He added that China will provide training to 2,000 government officials and technical staff from the island countries over the next three years to assist them in capacity building.


To accelerate the development of tourism of the Pacific island countries, Wen said, China has decided to formally approve Papua New Guinea, Samoa, and the Federated States of Micronesia as destinations for Chinese tourists.


Thus, all the seven island countries having diplomatic ties with China are now approved tourist destinations for Chinese citizens.


Wen said China will provide assistance in building an earthquake or tsunami early warning and monitoring network in light of the need of the island countries to improve their capability of managing earthquakes, tsunamis and other natural disasters.


Premier Wen arrived here Tuesday for an official visit to the Republic of the Fiji Islands, the first official visit by a Chinese premier to the South Pacific island country.


Fiji is the second leg of Premier Wen's four-nation Asia-Pacific tour, which has taken him to Australia and will take him to New Zealand and Cambodia.


(Xinhua News Agency April 5, 2006)

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