Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama paid tribute to China’s unwavering support to Fiji in the last 40 years when he held talks this evening with China’s President, H.E Xi Jinping.

Prime Minister Bainimarama paid a courtesy call on China’s Head of State at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing and used the opportunity to thank the President for his own leadership in fostering relations between the two countries especially as China and Fiji prepare to celebrate its 40 year diplomatic relations anniversary. As he congratulated President Xi on his successful visit to Fiji late last year, Prime Minister Bainimarama said that the potential to strengthen current relations can be realized if Fiji and China worked closely with each other in areas of mutual interest.

“Fiji seeks to use this anniversary to strengthen our relationship even further. To explore new avenues of cooperation in the international arena, including climate change. And to explore new ways in which China can assist Fiji as a Pacific Small Island Developing State on the path to becoming a modern nation state”, Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Bainimarama said that Fiji welcomed China’s decision to stand with Fiji despite isolation from her closest neighbors in the region.

“Fiji will never forget the support that China gave us when we decided that the path Fiji was taking as a nation was not in the interests of every Fijian and we needed to radically change course. We needed to reverse three decades of arrested development during which Fiji was mired in conflict and corruption. So we reset the national compass and put Fiji on a new path – one of equality, justice and opportunity for every citizen.”

“While some of our traditional friends failed to understand our reform program and chose to punish us and damage our interests, China stood by us. And we will always remember – with immense gratitude – your understanding and support”, the Prime Minister said.

Later this week he is also expected to meet with China’s Premier, H.E Li Keqian and witness the signing of several memoranda of understanding.