In Solomons, course is set with partner

For John Moffat Fugui, the Solomon Islands' first ambassador to China, high on his agenda is finding ways to boost exports to China and open direct air connections between the two countries as part of growing bilateral cooperation.

Three years ago, the Solomon Islands, a small island nation in the Pacific Ocean, established diplomatic relations with China, a move that Fugui said enables the country to reach out to the wider world.

"We have been excited about our relations," the top envoy told China Daily in an exclusive interview.

Earlier this month, Fugui co-led a joint promotional mission with Pacific Trade Invest China to Xiamen, Fujian province, where he attended the 22nd China International Fair for Investment and Trade.

John Moffat Fugui

His country featured prominently at the Pacific Islands promotional event to present investment and trade opportunities to participants during the four-day fair that attracted about 60,000 business people from more than 90 countries and regions, both online and offline.

Fugui said that China has organized a series of forums and conferences for all Pacific Island countries and the CIFIT came as just the latest example.

As the outcome of the first China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting held via video link in October last year, a series of cooperation mechanisms-including the Climate Action Cooperation Center, the Poverty Reduction and Development Cooperation Center and the Reserve of Emergency Supplies-have also been established.

"Such centers have never been done for Pacific Island countries before. The Pacific Island countries, especially those that have diplomatic relations with China, will reap dividends from these relations," the ambassador said.

As the Solomon Islands will host the Pacific Games next year, China is aiding the country to build the Pacific Games Stadium and the National University of Solomon Islands dormitory building that will be used as the athletes' village.

READ MORE: Deal with the Solomons will protect order, Beijing says 

So far, the stadium's running track and football field have been completed and are ready for use.

"But for the effect and impact of COVID-19, the relations between China and the Solomon Islands could have gone a long way already or progressed further," Fugui said.

However, the China-Solomon Islands cooperation, and even China's cooperation with Pacific Island countries as a whole, has drawn uninformed speculation by some politicians in the West. Some of these politicians have cited so-called security threats.

The ambassador said these expressions of doubt are to be "expected", but history will be the judge. 

Allegation slammed

"The best example of this from the Solomon Islands was the allegation of a 'military base' in the country. That was pure fiction. It was a total fabrication," he said.

Instead, the ambassador, drawing on boating imagery, said: "We set our course, speed on, and do not look back. In time, we will reap the benefits of our relations, especially our bilateral engagements with China."

Fugui takes aim at what he calls the propaganda claptrap coming from the West on Africa's engagement with China.

READ MORE: China signs security pact with Solomons 

"Now, African countries are reaping the benefits of their relations with China," he said.

The ambassador said relations between China, the Solomon Islands and other Pacific countries are set to reach even greater heights.

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