China says it intends on being a friend of the Pacific and it is proving that by maintaining its promises and commitments with Pacific nations.
The nation’s government has just handed over a 600-tonnes cargo and passenger ship to the Federated States of Micronesia. The vessel will predominantly serve the Yap State, and partake in nation-wide services as necessary.
The Hapilmohol 2 was handed over last week. The initial contract for the ship was signed between the two nations in October 2020.
China has always stated that its relationship with the Pacific is not about geopolitical supremacy, rather its aim was to help developing nations.
The FSM and China have had diplomatic relations since September 11, 1989.
Chinese ambassador to the FSM Huang Zheng said the handover of the ship is another testament of China’s sincere and selfless assistance to the FSM.
“What we are witnessing today is just another example of bringing ships to the FSM which will greatly enhance the well-being of the FSM’s people. We know that the donation of the Hapilmohol 2 has been highly appreciated by the FSM Government and the FSM’s people,” said Mr Huang.
“The bilateral trade volume between China and the FSM increased by more than 30 per cent last year, bringing tangible benefits to the people, fully demonstrating the potential for cooperation between China and the FSM.
“Despite changes in the international landscape, China will always hold fast to ‘four-pronged adherence’ to developing relations with Pacific Island Countries, including the FSM, and be a good friend and good partner pursuing common development with the FSM on the basis of mutual respect, equality, and mutual benefit.”
China’s continued presence and assistance to Pacific nations has always been viewed in a negative light. Because of China’s presence in the region, the United States and Australia have had a relook at their Pacific strategy.
FSM foreign affairs secretary Kandhi Elieisar said maritime transportation was an essential part of life for the people of FSM.
“Let me thank the Chinese crew who took the pains during these challenging times to bring the vessel to the shores of Yap State, and waited on the ship in compliance of our quarantine requirements,” he said,
“We can all agree that the three graciously donated vessels from China are important marine transport assets that literally bring our islands and peoples together as a nation and as a people.
This is the third ship donated by China to the FSM, with the previous two ships being the MV Hapilmohol-1 and the MV Chief Mailo, which have historically focused their service in the Yap State and Chuuk respectively.
Included within the contract signed by the two nations is an agreement that, starting from the second year after the ship’s delivery, upon the conclusion of its one-year warranty period, China will be responsible for dispatching four technicians to the FSM each year to carry out a 14 day technical inspection on the ship’s maintenance for four consecutive years.