BEIJING (Reuters) – China said it hoped Fiji would continue to “firmly” support the country on issues affecting core Chinese interests and concerns, Chinese state media quoted President Xi Jinping as telling Fijian Prime Minister Sitiveni Rabuka.
Xi told Rabuka that China will continue to support Fiji in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, Chinese state television said.
Both leaders met on Thursday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco, where Xi told the Fijian leader that China was ready to work with the Pacific island nation to enhance political mutual trust strengthen and expand practical cooperation.
China supports Fiji to independently choose its own development path and achieve national development and revitalization, Xi said.
The Chinese leader said China is ready to promote cooperation in infrastructure, agriculture, forestry and fisheries, new energy and other areas to support Fiji’s economic and social development.
China is also willing to increase imports from Fiji, support commercial investment in Fiji and encourage more tourists to visit Fiji.
China’s policy toward Pacific island nations fully respects the sovereignty and independence of these countries without making political conditions or empty promises, Xi added, saying China is building relations with the countries without “selfish motives.”
China is pushing for greater security and trade ties with Pacific island nations, signing a police agreement with the Solomon Islands in July and raising alarm in the United States.
Rabuka said the Pacific islands should be a “zone of peace” and he hopes the China-US rivalry in the region does not turn into a military conflict.
(Reporting by Liz Lee and Beijing Newsroom; Editing by Christopher Cushing and Stephen Coates)
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