The strong relationship between China and the Pacific Islands Forum was highlighted today as Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Mr. ZHANG Ping signed over USD $1.05 million to Dame Meg Taylor, Secretary General of the Pacific Islands Forum.
During the ceremony Ambassador ZHANG Ping reiterated the importance of the relationship saying “This donation from the Chinese Government to the China-PIF Cooperative Fund for the year 2016 is another demonstration of China’s sincerity and willingness in seeking common development prosperity with Pacific Islands Countries.”
Secretary General Taylor added, “During the past year we’ve had a number of high level visits from China and that, I think, sends a very strong signal to the region that China is very interested in our development and what we are trying to do. On behalf of the Pacific Islands Forum I wish to express a deep appreciation for the ongoing support from China as a partner to the region, both as a Post-Forum Dialogue Partner as well as a bilateral partner to many Forum countries. This contribution will be used to help improve the lives of Pacific islanders.”
The China-PIF Cooperative Fund was established in 2000 to support trade, investment, tourism and personal exchange between China and Forum countries. The first initiative to appear through the Fund was the establishment of the Beijing Office of Pacific Trade and Invest. The Beijing Office works closely with Forum country Embassies in China to build and strengthen business networks between the Pacific and Chinese markets.
In recent years the Fund has also enabled the China-PIFS Regional Scholarship Scheme which has seen 65 students study a wide range of subjects including engineering, international law, medicine, information & communications technology, agriculture, and commerce in Chinese institutions. Earlier this year China announced their intention to increase the number of annual scholarships on offer from 10 to 20.