China said on Tuesday its cooperation with and assistance to Pacific island countries never target a third party, and called for other countries to jointly help promote the region’s development and improve people’s livelihoods.
Vice-Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang made the remark at a news briefing on President Xi Jinping’s state visits to Papua New Guinea, Brunei and the Philippines, and his attendance at the 26th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders’ Meeting. Xi’s visits will start on Thursday and last to Nov 21.
During Xi’s stay in Papua New Guinea, he will meet with leaders of the eight Pacific island countries that have established diplomatic ties with China and deliver a speech at a group meeting with them.
In the speech, Xi is expected to announce a series of major measures to support the region’s development and deepen cooperation with countries there.
This is Xi’s second meeting with the leaders, following their meeting in Fiji in 2014.
“China has no intention to move the cheese of any country. Instead, China is committed to making the pie bigger,” Zheng said, noting that China is also willing to conduct three-party cooperation with other countries in the Pacific island region on the premise of respecting the will of regional countries.
The trade volume between China and the Pacific island region reached $7.25 billion in 2017, Zheng said. China’s accumulated investment in the region has exceeded $3 billion, “helping promote development, employment and the improvement of people’s lives there”, he said.
China has implemented more than 100 assistance projects in the Pacific island region regarding power stations, gymnasiums, roads and bridges, communication networks, hospitals and schools, he said.
“Xi’s visit to the region and meetings with the leaders will provide a new historic opportunity for further boosting China’s ties with the countries,” Zheng said.
“We expect to deepen communication and cooperation with Pacific island countries that have diplomatic relations with China in such areas as trade and investment, energy and resources, agriculture and fisheries as well as people-to-people exchanges under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative,” he added.
The senior official also said other countries should take a positive view of China’s relations with the Pacific island countries and abandon the outdated Cold War mentality and the zero-sum game mentality.
“The Pacific island region doesn’t fall within any country’s sphere of influence,” Zheng said.
Other countries should not, and they cannot, discourage China’s cooperation and exchanges with those countries, he added.