PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — On May 26, 2021, Kandhi A. Elieisar, secretary of the FSM Department of Foreign Affairs, received Huang Zheng, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the FSM, for a signing ceremony. The purpose of the ceremony was to formalize economic and technical cooperation agreements first proposed by FSM President David W. Panuelo and Chinese President Xi Jinping during their historic bilateral engagement in Beijing in December 2019. The tangible result for the FSM during the May 26 signing ceremony is that China has granted one-hundred million renminbi — which is about $16 million — for the purpose of development projects.
“I am delighted to sign this economic and technical cooperation agreement between our two countries,” Secretary Elieisar said in a statement. “This signing ceremony is the result of the consensus between [Presidents] David W. Panuelo and…Xi Jinping…we will use this money for the economic and social development of our country.…We appreciate your hard work, Ambassador [Huang], and we…look forward to push our relationship to new heights based on the bedrock of the One-China Policy that characterizes our strong and Great Friendship.”
“Each time when I come to this room to reach agreements on cooperation, I am so glad,” Ambassador Huang said in a statement. “Despite the difficulty of the Covid-19 pandemic, our hearts are coming closer and closer…what we are witnessing today is a vivid reflection of the important consensus reached between [Presidents] Xi Jinping and…David W. Panuelo during the successful and historic visit to China in December 2019.… Today’s grant of around sixteen million U.S. dollars…will surely make important contributions in the sustainable development of the FSM and the wellbeing of the FSM’s people.”
Contrary to pernicious rumors across the FSM, the economic and technical assistance from China comes with no political conditions or strings attached. This recent assistance, like historical assistance to the FSM through the FSM-China Great Friendship, is through the form of a grant — not a loan — and is based on China’s aid principles of equality, mutual benefits, openness, and sustainability.
“On behalf of the people and government of the FSM,” President Panuelo said in a statement, “I would like to thank His Excellency Xi Jinping, my dear friend and President of China, and his Ambassador, my dear friend Huang Zheng, for continuing to strengthen and enhance our FSM-China Great Friendship. China was instrumental in recognizing our nation’s inherent sovereignty, and for the more than thirty years of close diplomatic relations, we’ve built a Great Friendship and comprehensive partnership based on shared values of mutual respect and the bedrock of the One- China Policy. I extend again our sincere appreciation to China for this economic and technical cooperation assistance of approximately sixteen million dollars, and look forward to strengthening our FSM-China Great Friendship in the years, decades, and centuries to come.”