THE second joint delegation of the Legislative Assembly and Government’s recent visit to the People’s Republic of China has fostered stronger relations and strengthened the solidarity between the two nations.
This is the outcome of a successful 10 day visit to China of a parliamentary delegation led by Deputy Speaker of Parliament, Lord Tu’i’afitu and the Deputy Prime Minister, Siaosi Sovaleni.
Parliamentary Research Officer, Silivia ‘Atiola who accompanied the visiting MPs reports that the high level delegation’s visit to China was an ideal opportunity for leaders of the two countries to discuss future cooperation in tourism, agriculture, fisheries and renewable energy.
It also renewed friendships and increased Members of Parliament’s understanding of the Chinese government, social and economic policies and culture.
While in China, the delegation visited Guangzhou in the Guangdong Province (April 8-10), the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region (April 11-13) before making a final stop at Beijing (April 13-17).
The Tongan MPs were also treated to several lectures on China’s economic and social reform policies as well as ensuring they understood the composition and work of the Communist Party of China (CPC).
Guangzhou, located in the South of China allowed the delegation to meet with leaders of the city and discuss future cooperation in tourism, agriculture and fisheries.
Issues of particular interest include negotiation on possible direct flights from Guangzhou to Tonga, redirecting of Chinese cruise ships to our ports and trade in agriculture and fisheries.
The visiting MPs also toured the scenic tourist oriented city of Zhuhai where the members paid a visit to Mayor followed by an outing to the popular Zhuhai Chimelong Ocean Kingdom Park, which boasts the world’s largest aquarium and is a famous destination for hundreds of thousands of tourists annually.
They also visited the Ningxia Hui Autonomous Region, which is a sister city of Vava’u by virtue of an agreement that was signed between the two cities in 2014.
While in Ningxia, the delegation visited an ecological immigration project which is part of the Ningxia’s poverty alleviation and development programs.
On that tour, the MPs learnt that this was part of the Government’s large scale effort to relocate people who were living under the poverty line in mountainous and rural areas. The initiative was also to provide them with accommodation, jobs, health services and education for their families.
Ms. ‘Atiola also reports that during talks with the leaders of Ningxia, it was agreed that more cooperation will occur in the agricultural sector with the exchange of agricultural experts in order to increase agricultural productivity particularly in Tonga.
“More importantly, the Ningxia Foreign Affairs Office agreed to work together to promote Tonga’s tourism marketing presence in the area. The Government of Tonga proposed that Vava'u could also be aided through the provision of one or two sets of one megawatt windmills to generate clean energy electricity that will power the islands. The windmills will be symbolic of the friendship between the two sister cities." ” according to Ms. ‘Atiola.
In Ningxia, the delegation also visited famous landmarks and tourist sites such as the Helan Mountains, the Chateau Changyu Moser XV and the Zhenbeibu China West Film Studio.
The delegation made important calls at several Ministries and Departments in Beijing including the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), Ministry of Tourism, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Department of the Communist Party of China (IDCPC) and the Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine (ASQIQ).
“The aim of the visit was to establish networks and to discuss ways in which the two countries could move forward in terms of bilateral trade and investments, and highlighting the ‘win-win’ situation it would create for both nations.
It also allowed them to explore further opportunities for trade and for possible future investments in Tonga of large multi-million dollar corporations such as ZTE Co. Ltd, Hanergy, CCECC and Huawei, which the delegates had visited,” said Ms. ‘Atiola
The parliamentary delegation returned safely to Tonga at the weekend.