Before I make the short statement may I ask that you join with me to take a minute silence to remember HE the late Rev Baldwin Lonsdale who left us suddenly in the early hours of Saturday 17 th June 2017. May rest in Peace.
It gives me great pleasure to address you all today and at the outset thank you all for the opportunity in allowing me to share a few remarks.
Let me also express my warmest welcome to commander RADM Zhao Jichecg and crew of Hengyang and Youlin and the Replenishment Ship Hongh under the Escort Task Force of the people's Liberation Army who have traversed the vast ocean from the gulf of Aden to the Pacific Ocean. Thank you for including Vanuatu in the route. Again i bring you warmest welcome from the government and the People of the Republic of Vanuatu.
Commander RADM Zaho Jichecg and the crew members, you have come to Port Vila on a very special occasion. This year represents an important milestone in the history of the relations between Vanuatu and the People's Republic of China as we celebrate the 35th anniversary of the establishment of our relations.
The 35th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations is not only a testament to the enduring ties between our two countries but also the acknowledgment to China for its recognition of Vanuatu as a newly independent state back in 1982. This had laid the foundation of the important relation which had progress in the succeeding years.
During these 35 years, we have witnessed remarkable progress in our bilateral relations and the level of exchange continued to be enhanced. The numerous development project that the government of China as favourably considered and supported Vanuatu with is testament to the strong relations.
Today China stands as one of Vanuatu's major development partners where mutual cooperation and development aid program has brought tangible benefits to our people. Keys infrastructure investments that the Government of China is supporting Vanuatu in are transforming the environmental landscape and surely will spur economic activities throughout the country and positively contribute to the wellbeing and live hood of our people.
Ladies and gentlemen, let me briefly turn to our cooperation in defence and security. China continues to play an important role in promoting peace and security through exchange programs with countries in the region and the support towards national program on defence. We acknowledge with deep gratitude the support extended in terms of training and equipments and recently the Grant Aid of equipment amounting to RMB 8 Million. We will continue to learn from China experience in the development of appropriate technology in the area of defence and security wich may suit well our need.
Distinguished Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen,
The visit of the Navel Fleet is the second of its kind and reflects our cooperation maturing in this area. The collaboration by the two government in the area of defence and security shows our shared commitment toward maintaining a region that is peaceful and conducive to the economic development of countries in the region including Vanuatu. Thus the Vanuatu government will continue to work with the government of the People's Republic of China in strengthening cooperation in the area of defence and security. We may further work to cooperate on technology aspect which China had made advancement in this area.
All these development continue to show our commitment toward our common commitment to further enhance our bilateral defence and security cooperation.
Let me thus reaffirm my strong confidence in the continued and ever flourishing mutually beneficial relationship between our two countries and peoples. Fundamental to Vanuatu's relation with China is the adherence to the one-China policy, which is a pillar of Vanuatu's foreign policy.
Commander RADM Zhao Jichecg and crew member, it is sincere hope that you will enjoy the hospitality of the people of Vanuatu. Please do bring good memories back with you after this visit and we wish you safe travels to your next destination.
Thank you tumas, Xeixei