By People’s Daily
Some streets of the Port Moresby, capital city of Papua New Guinea (PNG) are already decorated with the five-starred red flags, Chinese knots, and red lanterns to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping’s state visit.
From Nov. 15 to 21, Xi is scheduled to pay state visits to PNG, Brunei, and the Philippines. In Port Moresby, he will attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) leaders’ meeting and meet with leaders from the Pacific Island countries which have diplomatic ties with China.
PNG Prime Minister Peter O’Neill told People’s Daily that PNG welcomes President Xi’s upcoming visit, and that the PNG government attaches high importance to their relations with China.
The peoples of PNG and China have enjoyed a long history of friendly exchanges, said O’Neill, noting that in recent years, China’s investment in PNG and trade between China and PNG saw remarkable growth, which has greatly boosted the economic and social development of PNG.
Mentioning that he has met President Xi for many times, O’Neill expressed that Xi is a distinguished leader, and that the PNG government applauds Xi’s thoughts on national governance.
Former governor Peti Lafanama of PNG’s Eastern Highlands Province told People’s Daily that he visited China in 2000 as the governor of Eastern Highlands and met with Xi, then governor of east China’s Fujian Province. They were like old friends at the first meeting, and forged a sincere friendship since then, according to Lafanama.
President Xi’s visit will benefit PNG a lot, Lafanama pointed out, saying that PNG is a young country that needs to learn from other countries in various aspects. He added that Chinese investment has made great contributions to PNG’s economic development.
The Belt and Road Initiative proposed by President Xi has endowed the ancient Maritime Silk Road with new significance, Pg Dr Karim bin Pg Hj Osman, former director of Brunei Museums Department under the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports said during an interview with People’s Daily.
For more than 1,000 years, Chinese people have brought merchant ships and wealth to Brunei, which is fundamentally different from the Western colonialists. Today, the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will bring prosperity to Brunei, said Pg Dr Karim bin Pg Hj Osman.
China is very friendly to its neighbors, and President Xi’s visit demonstrates that China treats all countries, big or small, as equals, said Reggie See, General Manager of Brunei’s largest English newspaper Borneo Bulletin, adding that it shows the open vision and broad mind of China’s leadership.
Pointing to a copy of Borneo Bulletin that published the news of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Brunei, Reggie See said he was very happy to witness the historic moment, and now he welcomes and is looking forward to President Xi’s visit, which he believes will bring the bilateral relations to a new level.
In recent years, the China-Philippines relations are moving into the fast lane of development under the leadership of President Xi and Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte.
Joseph Estrada, former president of the Philippines and Mayor of Manila, said that he will welcome Xi at the airport. Estrada expressed that he looks forward to President Xi’s state visit to the Philippines very much, and he holds more expectations for Xi’s visit to Manila.
In September 2015, Estrada was invited to Beijing to attend the Commemoration of 70th Anniversary of Victory of Chinese People’s Resistance against Japanese Aggression and World Anti-Fascist War. According to him, the meeting with President Xi at that time left a deep impression on him.
President Xi is a great leader, Estrada told People’s Daily. Knowing that the second volume of President Xi’s book “Xi Jinping: The Governance of China” has been published, Estrada expressed that he hopes to read the book very much.
This year marks the 5th anniversary of the proposal of the Belt and Road Initiative, which Estrada thought has created an important opportunity to boost the development of the Asia-Pacific region.
China has rich development experience and technological advantages, while countries and regions along the Belt and Road, including the Philippines, are in urgent need of infrastructure development, said Estrada, noting that they need to learn from China’s experience.
With the approach of the 26th APEC leaders’ meeting, the atmosphere of the event is getting stronger and stronger on the streets of Port Moresby.
As an important venue for the series meetings of APEC, the International Convention Center aided by Chinese company in Port Moresby is now ready to receive guests from all over the world after a new round of renovation.
China is the world’s second largest economy as well as the largest consumer market, playing a vital role among APEC members, said James Marape, PNG’s Minister of Finance, adding that the Chinese voice that firmly upholds the principles of free trade is widely anticipated at the moment when trade protectionism is on the rise.