Your Excellency Ambassador Wang Xuefeng
Your Highness Head of State & Masiofo
Member of the Council of Deputies
Hon Speaker & Members of Parliament
Chief Justice and Judiciary
Members of the Diplomatic Corps
Guests Ladies and Gentlemen
It is a pleasure for us all present here, to join friends around the globe in the celebration of the Chinese New Year and that this year gives significance to the Pig. I am told that one sixth of the world’s population celebrate the Chinese new year or the spring festival. To all Chinese nationals in Samoa, may you have an enjoyable New Year holiday.
Amidst the celebration, we are here also to farewell His Excellency Ambassador Wang Xuefeng and his good lady Madame Tong Xin who have come to the end of their tenure in Samoa.
China’s assistance to Samoa and many other Pacific countries is always known for supporting infrastructural developments where some of our traditional development partners might not always be so willing to invest in. We have seen the gradual evolution of the Faleolo international airport; we had sacrificed our comforts for a major facelift of our gateway to the world. We are waiting in anticipation of when we can start to board and disembark flights using air-bridges.
We have also seen a shift in the delivery of China’s assistance towards a focus on support for the social sectors through provincial aid.
A lot of the aid is now channeled through Guandong province for medical equipment and drugs as well as highly qualified medical teams on a shorter term rotation. Our medical personnel are also undertaking training attachments in China.
There is huge interest in the translation of our literary works to Mandarin opening them up to a huge readership audience. I believe this is a personal quest of Ambassador Wang and Madam Tong Xin. Similarly Chinese is a language option in selected schools and the National Univeristy of Samoa. Emphasis on the arts has led to the start of two major developments, the Arts and Culture Centre as well as the Friendship Park, China’s contribution to the Apia Waterfront project.
Scholarship awards under China’s program are increasing and we are seeing returning graduates filling key positions in both the public and private sectors.
The private sector has had many opportunities to find markets for their niche products in China during expositions and to explore possibilities for engagement in tourism development.
China has also come to our aid in preparing for the Pacific Games this year through upgrading and construction of facilities as well as providing the opportunity for Team Samoa to be well prepared for the games through training and coaching of athletes in China.
I wish to take this opportunity to thank you Ambassador for your drive to strengthen Samoa China relations during your time in Samoa including your support for the official visit to China for the World Economic Forum in 2018 and the opportunities to meet and hold discussions with President Xi Jinping. We also acknowledge the High Level visits by the authorities over the years as well as facilitating ministerial visits to China and the generous hospitality extended to us all.
I am sure that everyone here join me in extending to you our very best wishes for your next posting. It is our hope that you will take back good memories of Samoa. May you have safe travels and a safe return home.
We look forward to welcoming your successor.
It is now my honour to propose a toast: For continuing stronger Samoa-China relations.