Address by H.E. Ambassador Li Ming at the Ceremony of the Official Opening of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Solomon Islands
22 September 2020
The Hon. Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare,
Speaker of Parliament Hon. Patteson Oti,
Deputy Prime Minister Hon Manasseh Maelanga,
Minister of Foreign Affairs Hon Jenemiah Manele,
Members of Parliament,
Senior Government Officials,
Representatives of Chinese Enterprises and Chinese Community, Members of the Press,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First of all, on behalf of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Solomon Islands, I would like to extend warm welcome to all distinguished guests present here at the opening ceremony. Today is indeed a historic moment. (Note: H.E. Amb. Li Ming read Message of Congratulations from H.E. Wang Yi State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China for the Opening of the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Solomon Islands. Full text of the message of congratulations has been released separately.) As State Councilor Wang Yi pointed out in his message, over the past year, China-Solomon Islands relationship has witnessed a strong and steady development.
Last October, the Hon. Prime Minister Sogavare paid a successful visit to China and received warm welcome. During his visit, President Xi Jinping and Premier Li Keqiang held meetings respectively and reached important consensus on the development of China-Solomon Islands relations. Both sides signed documents of cooperation on “Belt and Road Initiative”, economic and technical cooperation, education, tourism, and sub-national cooperation.
China honors its commitments and has been supporting the economic and social development of Solomon Islands, particularly in areas of infrastructure and improvement of living standard of Solomon Islands people. The designing of venues for the 2023 Pacific Games in Solomon Islands has started. China has agreed to accept 91 Solomon Islands students to study in Chinese universities, and will continue to provide government scholarships to Solomon Islands students this year. Driven by the steady recovery of China’s economy, our bilateral trade will brace for broader prospect in the years to come. China’s Guangdong, Fujian and other provinces have established efficient communications with Guadalcanal and Western provinces respectively and are stepping up discussions on further cooperation.
Both countries supported each other in the fight against COVID-19. The Chinese people will always remember the valuable assistance provided by Solomon Islands government and people when China was hit hard by pandemic. The Hon. Prime Minister Sogavare wrote to President Xi Jinping to extend condolences and support. The local Chinese community in Solomon Islands also made valuable donations. China is one of the first countries to help Solomon Islands in its fight against COVID-19. China has provided 350,000 US dollars, helped set up nucleic acid testing laboratory, and donated more than 4,000 test kits and 200,000 personal protective equipment. All of these effectively enhanced the capabilities of Solomon Islands to prevent and control the pandemic.
On September 2nd, my colleagues of the Chinese Embassy and I arrived in Honiara by the Solomon Airlines charter flight, together with Chinese experts and engineers who are present here today. They came to help Solomon Islands to build the stadium for Pacific Games 2023 and other infrastructure. On that plane, there is additional medical supplies donated by China. The charter flight brought to Solomon Islands friendship and assistance, and delivered confidence as well as hope. China is ready to join hands with Solomon Islands to win this battle against COVID-19 unprecedented in human history.
The achievement made in the past year proves that, the establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries is the common aspirations of the two peoples and is the trend with the times. No one or not any force can stop it. These achievements can only be made by the strategic guidance of President Xi Jinping and the Hon. Prime Minister Sogavare, by the adherence to one-China principle, and by understanding and support of our two peoples, especially the distinguished guests present here. We stand firmly together on the right side of history. Let us pay tribute and appreciation to the Hon. Prime Minister Sogavare for his outstanding contribution to China-Solomon Islands relations, despite all kinds of pressures and obstacles. Thank you all, the Hon. Prime Minister and distinguished guests, for your historical contribution in the advancement of the great cause of China-Solomon Islands relationship.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Nothing, not even mountains and oceans, can separate people with shared goals and vision. The relationship between China and Solomon Islands is based on equality, mutual respect and mutual benefit. The history of friendly exchanges between China and Solomon Islands can be dated back to ancient times. As early as more than 100 years ago, Chinese arrived in Solomon Islands traversing vast Pacific ocean and made important contributions to the development of this country. In the 1970s, the Chinese government and people firmly supported Solomon Islands’ national independence. In the following 40 years since then, our economic, trade, cultural and sub-national exchanges have never stopped and only got even closer. China has been the largest export market of Solomon Islands since 2004. Many Solomon Islands students studied in China through various channels sponsored by the Chinese Government. Both countries support multilateralism and have maintained frequent discussions and communications in United Nations, WTO etc. As the first Chinese ambassador to Solomon Islands, in the past 20 days since arrival, I have seen not only the beautiful scenery of Honiara, but also felt cordial sentiments of people of Solomon Islands to people of China. And I am deeply impressed by the high expectations and enthusiasm of Solomon Islands people on the development of bilateral relations.
During the meeting with the Hon. Prime Minister Sogavare last October, President Xi Jinping said that, when it comes to friendship, it doesn’t matter who comes first. As long as our two countries forge friendship, we will enjoy bright prospects. I learned there is a similar Solomon Islands proverb, “all good things come to those who wait”. On the occasion of the anniversary of establishment of diplomatic ties between our two countries, the opening ceremony of the Chinese Embassy in Solomon Islands is another important milestone in the history of bilateral relations. My colleagues of the Chinese Embassy and I will spare no effort to implement the consensus reached by our leaders, push forward the development of bilateral relations in the new era, and strive to become a window of the relationship, a bridge to promote cooperation.
Ladies and gentlemen,
A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. We are supporters of China-Solomon Islands relations, and many of us witnessed the birth and continued growth of the relationship. So let’s join hands together to carefully nurture the relationship to the mutual benefit of our peoples, and to brace for a brighter future.
May China-Solomon Islands relations have more fruitful outcomes!
Long live the friendship between China and Solomon Islands!