Who’s Samoa’s friend? China

There is a large sign at a beautiful park on the waterfront at Apia, Samoa’s capital, and it is written in Chinese. This sign says China-Samoa Friendship Park.

The Friendship Park is a sign of the deepening practical cooperation between China and Samoa. It is a project under the sister city banner of the Chinese Government whereby one major city from China partners a city in the Pacific and aids them with capital projects.

Chinese ambassador to Samoa Chao Xiaoliang said the Shanghai Construction Group overcame the impact of adverse factors such as COVID-19, rising raw material prices, and inconvenient transportation, to complete the project at a high standard.

“Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the two countries have achieved fruitful cooperation outcomes in the fields of infrastructure, anti-epidemic, education, agriculture and medical care.

Chinese ambassador to Samoa Chao Xiaoliang and Samoan PM Fiame Naomi Mataafa at the Friendship Park in Apia. Picture: Government of Samoa

“At present, China is working with Samoa to actively promote the implementation of the outcomes of State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Samoa and the second China-Pacific Islands Foreign Ministers’ Meeting, so as to bring tangible benefits to the two peoples and two countries.”

The Friendship Park captures the principles of good urban design in its layout and the new infrastructure incorporates unique features of our culture which blend well with the natural environment.

Samoa’s prime minister Fiame Naomi Mata’afa said in 2018, an agreement was signed between the two governments to bring this project to life.

She said the name reflected the warm and cordial relations and friendship enjoyed by the two two governments for over 46 years now.

A signboard showing the Friendship Park. Picture: Government of Samoa

“I understand that discussions are already underway for the launch of the recently completed Arts and Culture Centre at Malifa the second project funded through the unique partnership with Huizhou City and I look forward to its opening in due course,” Ms Mata’afa said.

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This is not the first Pacific municipality China has helped. A similar project with Suva in Fiji led to the beautification of its ten kilometre scenic route along the sea as well as refurbishment of its civic centre.

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