China sees Fiji as friend, partner in Pacific island region: Xi

Updated: 2014-11-21 21:31


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NADI, Fiji - China regards Fiji as a sincere friend and important partner in the Pacific island region, Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Fijian counterpart, Epeli Nailatikau, here Friday.

Xi is paying a state visit to Fiji, the first in history by a Chinese president.

China, he said, firmly supports the Fijian people in independently choosing a development path that fits the national conditions of Fiji, stands behind Fiji's efforts in developing its economy and improving people's life, and backs its reasonable appeals in the international arena.

Noting that the next year marks the 40th anniversary of China-Fiji diplomatic ties, Xi said China is willing to strengthen exchanges with Fiji at different levels, expand practical cooperation and push for further progress in bilateral ties.

"I hope my visit can open a new chapter in bilateral friendly and cooperative relations," Xi said.

For his part, Nailatikau thanked Beijing for the support and assistance China has long been offering to his country, and said Xi's visit will definitely lift bilateral ties to a higher level.

Fiji, he added, is committed to maintaining national stability and development, and regards the development of its relations with China as a cornerstone of its "Look North Policy," which is aimed at enriching the country's relations with Asia.

Fiji wishes to strengthen cooperation with China, he stressed.

Xi arrived in Nadi earlier in the day. Fiji is the last stop of his three-nation South Pacific tour, which has taken him to Australia and New Zealand.