Pacific Connects to Project of the Century

20-Jul-2017 12:30 PM

China pledges to improve life in Pacific countries and grow island economies through the One Belt One Road project

China’s One Belt One Road project heralds a new era of rapid development for Pacific countries, says the Bank of China.

The fourth largest global bank hosted representatives from eight Pacific Island countries in a tour of China last month to learn more about One Belt One Road and the opportunities it offers.  It is the first international financial seminar held by Bank of China for Pacific island countries. The seminar focused on economic and social development and China’s development in patterns and practices, including infrastructure, aagricultural, development of SMEs, and other topics.

China’s President Xi Jinping has called one Belt One Road ‘the project of the century’, with a vision to spend close to US$1trillion on trade, cooperation and infrastructure along the old Silk Road trade route from China to Europe overland (the belt) and along China's maritime shipping routes (the road).

One Belt One Road is about promoting cooperation and working to build a community of shared interests and responsibility. It is underpinned by five main pillars - policy coordination; facilities connectivity; unimpeded trade; financial integration; and people to people bonds.

Countries attending the seminar were Papua New Guinea, Fiji, Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), Samoa, Tonga, the Cook Islands and Niue. Ministers of Finance, Ministers of Commerce and Trade, senior managers from financial institutions and trade associations and large corporations visited Beijing and Shanghai.

David Lei Wang, CEO of Bank of China (New Zealand) Ltd said: ‘Relations between China and Pacific countries are entering a new period of rapid development. We are inviting Pacific countries to get on the express train of China’s development and improve their social and economic outcomes.’
Minister of Finance and Administration of the FSM, Ms Shina Lawrence, in her speech, said that the seminar was a platform to strengthen cooperation and achieve sustainable development.
During their stay in China, the Pacific island representatives visited Donghai bridge, Yangshan deepwater port, Shanghai Zhenhua Heavy Industries, The Commercial Aircraft Corporation of China and Taicaing Modern Agriculture Park to get a deeper understanding of their operations.
Representatives also visited cultural sites including the Forbidden City, the Great Wall and the National Grand Theatre.
A number of infrastructure projects are already underway through One Belt One Road, including an agreement for technical assistance from China to help develop Samoa’s sports facilities, which was sealed during a visit by the Vice Foreign Minister of China Zheng Zeguang to Samoa in May 2017. Key areas for cooperation between China and Samoa and investment include trade, tourism and infrastructure.

Low resolution photos attached.
Photo captions:
- Shina Lawrence, Minister of Finance and Administration of the Federated States of Micronesia
- Zheng Zeguang, Vice Foreign Minister of China and Tuilaepa Aiono Sailele Malielegaoi, Prime Minister of Samoa