Fiji’s Parliament Speaker Ratu Epeli Nailatikau hailed on Friday the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), saying that many countries will benefit from this great initiative.
“China’s Belt and Road Initiative is a great initiative, and it is going to benefit so many countries, including the Pacific Island nations,” Nailatikau told Xinhua while attending the official opening of the China-renovated media gallery in the Fijian Parliament.
Last November, Fiji and China inked a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on cooperation within the framework of BRI.
Proposed by China in 2013, the BRI refers to the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, aiming to build a trade and infrastructure network connecting Asia with Europe and Africa along the ancient trade routes of the Silk Road.
As an important nation in the South Pacific region, Fiji is located on the natural extension of the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road. The signing of the MoU will not only promote exchanges and cooperation between the two countries in various fields but also marks a new chapter on the development of the two countries’ relations.
The speaker also spoke highly of the relations between Fiji and China.
“Our long relationship has always been cordial… And the assistance from China over the past years has been numerous and it grows every year,” he said.
“It is very meaningful assistance that comes from China. And on this occasion, it follows on other assistance that China has given to our parliament in the past. And we are indeed very grateful.”
As for the media gallery, which was rebuilt by China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (China Civil), Nailatikau thanked China for the generous contribution.
“For the first time a media gallery is being made available in the Parliament and this has been made possible through the generous contribution of the People’s Republic of China,” he said.
For his part, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo said that the BRI is a new and great platform for China and the Pacific Island countries to cooperate for common development. He hoped both sides can deepen such cooperation within the framework of BRI.
As Fiji’s sincere friend and cooperative partner, China is willing to continue to offer assistance for Fiji’s economic and social development to its best capabilities, he said.