What will Samoa, or the Pacific for that matter, do without China?
The presence of China’s Vice Premier, Hu Chunhua, in Samoa today speaks volumes about his country’s attitude towards the Pacific countries. That is they mean business and by coming all the way to these remote shores in the middle of the vast Pacific Ocean; they care.
That much is undeniable.
Yesterday afternoon, Prime Minister Tuilaepa Dr. Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, the Government and the people Samoa rolled out the welcoming mat to greet the Chinese Vice Premier and his delegation.
Having been welcomed during an ava ceremony, Vice Premier Hu would have had the opportunity to meet some key people in Samoa last night during a dinner hosted by Samoa. There he would have also been given a taste of the Samoan culture and our warm hospitality, something we want more and more Chinese to come to experience.
Now although they are in Samoa primarily for the 3rd China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum, the visit in itself is a big win for this country.
With the exception of a visit by China’s President Xi Jinping to Fiji several years ago, for Samoa, this is a big moment. The mere fact that Apia was chosen as the venue for the 3rd China-Pacific Island Countries Economic Development and Cooperation Forum is testament of how China views Samoa as an important friend in this part of the world and a big influence in the region.
Indeed, it doesn’t get any bigger than this for our small country.
So we take this opportunity to extend a warm Samoan welcome to Vice Premier Hu, his delegation and all Government leaders who are in Samoa for the Forum.
Needless to say, China’s role in the development of the Pacific is critical. While its motives and the way they operate have raised many questions from other corners of the world, it’s undeniable that without China, Samoa and most Pacific countries would find the going a lot tougher.
The question is; what will the Pacific be without China?