First Ever Historical Leadership Virtual Meeting Held between China's National People's Congress and Vanuatu Parliament
2020-12-20 16:04

On 15th December 2020, H.E. Gracia Chadrack, Speaker of Vanuatu Parliament and H.E. Wu Weihua, Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC) of the People's Republic of China had exchanges via video link. Hon. Samson Samsen, First Deputy Speaker, H.E. Edward Nalyal, Second Deputy Speaker, H.E. Asang Sannick, Third Deputy Speaker, Hon. Nakou Natuman, Fourth Deputy Speaker, Hon. Silas Bule (MP), Minister of Health, Hon. Jay Ngwele (MP), Minister of Infrastructure and Public Utilities, Hon. Simeon Seule (MP), Minister of Education and Training, Hon. Willie Satearoto (MP), Minister of Youth and Sports, Hon Joshua Pikioune (MP) Chairman of Standing Committee for Social Policies, Hon Wesley Rasu (MP) Chairman of Economics Committee, Hon. John Still Tariquetu (MP) Chairman of Economic and Foreign Policies, Hon Marc Muelsul (MP) Vice- Chairman of Economic and Foreign Affairs, Hon Xavier Harry (MP), member of Standing Committee for Economic & Foreign Policies, Hon Nil John Roy (MP), Hon Job Andy (MP) and senior Parliament staff were present. On the Chinese side, Chinese Ambassador Zhou Haicheng and Mr. Du Deyin and Mr. Liu Zhenwei, who are both vice chairmen of NPC Agricultural and Rural Affairs Committee participated in the meeting.

Vice Chairman Wu Weihua congratulated Vanuatu on its 40th anniversary of independence, its graduation from a Least Developed Country status to a Developing Country status and its achievements in national development and external exchanges. He said, " Vanuatu is China's good friend and good partner in the Pacific region. The China-Vanuatu relationship has brought tangible benefits to the two peoples and now is at its best in history." He stressed that China always supports and respects Vanuatu's choice of development path suitable to its own national conditions and appreciates Vanuatu's commitments to the one-China principle. "On regional and international affairs, China and Vanuatu have maintained sound communication and coordination, which demonstrates the high level of the China-Vanuatu Comprehensive Strategic Partnership." "China values its relations with Vanuatu. We are ready to work with the Vanuatu Government and Parliament and intensify our exchanges, cooperation and dialogue in an all-around way in order to make the China-Vanuatu Comprehensive Strategic Partnership deeper and more concrete." China is also ready to strengthen communication and collaboration with Vanuatu in multilateral mechanisms to defend the shared interests of developing countries added.

Hon. Chadrack extended congratulations to the legislative achievements of the 13th NPC, saying that the Vanuatu Parliament is committed to working closely with NPC to deepen understanding and increase exchange. He commended China's remarkable development achievements and expressed confidence that, guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the Chinese people will realize the Two Centenary Goals.

Reflecting on history, Hon. Chadrack acknowledged China for being the voice in the UN General Assembly to support and vote for Vanuatu to become an independent country and member of the United Nations.

On behalf the Vanuatu Parliament, Hon. Chadrack expressed gratitude to China for its help with the construction of Vanuatu Parliament Building in 1992 which was officially opened in 1993 and is currently in use. He also thanked China for its tremendous continuous assistance in strengthening the Vanuatu Parliament. He emphasized the Leadership Virtual Meeting between the Vanuatu Parliament and NPC as another milestone to be added to Vanuatu Parliament's history, saying that the Parliament is committed to stepping up collaboration with NPC to promote cooperation in regional and international arenas and also to promote the ever-growing Vanuatu-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. "The Parliament of Vanuatu reaffirms its commitment to the one-China policy that will continue to be the cornerstone of Vanuatu-China bilateral relations for prosperity", said he.

Hon. Chadrack briefed NPC on Vanuatu's 3-pillar state system which determines the Separation of Powers, and the responsibilities and functions of the Parliament.

Hon. Jay Ngwele, Minister for Public Works and Infrastructure appreciated the latest development of Vanuatu-China relations and highlighted a series of documents signed in this regard recently, including a Cooperation Plan on the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Pacific Island Countries Program of Action on Economic Development and Cooperation, an MOU on Strengthening Cooperation in Infrastructure Sectors, an MOU on Strengthening Investment and Production Capacity Cooperation, an MOU on Electronic Commerce Cooperation, an MOU on Fisheries Cooperation and Agreement Relating to Civil Air Transport. He expressed gratitude to China for its past and present contributions to Vanuatu, and for being a bilateral partner in developing a strong strategic partnership and mutual respect in augmenting development programs throughout Vanuatu.

Hon. Joshua Pikioune (MP), Chairman of the Social Policies Standing Committee of the Parliament responsible for Health thanked China for its assistance with Vanuatu's COVID-19 response. Vanuatu and China have cared for each other and battled the virus hand in hand in setting a unique model for joint pandemic response, he said.

Hon. Xavier Harry (MP), Member of the Economic and Foreign Affairs Standing Committee of the Parliament said, "Vanuatu supports the Belt and Road Initiative to connect China and Vanuatu and we hope to see these two institutions collaborate together to address both the strength and weakness of the international and domestic situations in order to grow the economy."

Both sides recognized that inter-parliamentary exchange is an important part of state-to-state relation, and agreed to leverage the features and strengths of the legislature and jointly advance the China-Vanuatu Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The two institutions agreed to work closely and make due contributions as legislatures to realize their respective countries' development goals, tackling risks and challenges together, and building a community with a shared future for mankind.

Picture portrays Hon Speaker of Vanuatu Parliament with Members of Parliament and H.E. Ambassador Zhou Haicheng

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