China–Samoa relations

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Sino-Samoan relations
Map indicating locations of China and Samoa

China

Samoa

Samoa and China (PRC) established official diplomatic relations in 1976. The two countries currently maintain cordial relations; China provides economic aid to Samoa.

The current Ambassador of China in Samoa is Ma Chongren.[1] Samoa has not yet appointed resident diplomatic personnel in China, but has announced its intention to do so.[2]

Context[edit]

detailed article: Sino-Pacific relations

Oceania is, to the People's Republic of China and the Republic of China (Taiwan), a stage for continuous diplomatic competition. Eight states in Oceania recognise the PRC, and six recognise the ROC. These numbers fluctuate as Pacific Island nations re-evaluate their foreign policies, and occasionally shift diplomatic recognition between Beijing and Taipei. In keeping with the "One China" policy, it is not possible for any country to maintain official diplomatic relations with "both Chinas", and this "either/or" factor has resulted in the PRC and the ROC actively courting diplomatic favours from small Pacific nations.[3][4] In 2003, the People's Republic of China announced it intended to enhance its diplomatic ties with the Pacific Islands Forum, and increase the economic aid package it provided to that organisation. At the same time, PRC delegate Zhou Whenzhong added: "[T]he PIF should refrain from any exchanges of an official nature or dialogue partnership of any form with Taiwan".[5] In 2006, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao announced that the PRC would increase its economic cooperation with Pacific Island States. The PRC would provide more economic aid, abolish tariffs for exports from the Pacific's least developed countries, annul the debt of those countries, distribute free anti-malaria medicines, and provide training for two thousand Pacific Islander government officials and technical staff.[6] Also in 2006, Wen became the first Chinese premier to visit the Pacific islands, which the Taipei Times described as "a longtime diplomatic battleground for China and Taiwan". Similarly, according to Ron Crocombe, Professor of Pacific Studies at the University of the South Pacific, "There have been more Pacific Islands minister visits to China than to any other country".[7]

Current relations[edit]

Samoa has consistently recognised the People's Republic of China since 1976.

In 2007, the PRC provided Samoa with an x-ray machine and several volunteer doctors.[8] In 2008, the PRC donated over €1,360,000 to Samoa to fund its education policies.[9]

In March 2008, following unrest in Tibet, the speaker of the Samoan Fono (legislative assembly), Tolofuaivalelei Falemoe Leiataua, stated that foreign leaders should not interfere with China as it deals with "internal affairs", and that they should not meet the Dalai Lama.[10][11]

In June 2008, Samoa announced it would be opening diplomatic missions in China and Japan - the country's first diplomatic offices in Asia.[2] In September, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement indicating that China and Samoa have always "conducted fruitful cooperation in the fields of economy, trade, agriculture, sports, culture, education and health, as well as international affairs", and that China intended to "make more tangible efforts to support Samoa's economic and social development".[12]

References[edit]

  1. ^ PRC Ministry of Foreign Affairs
  2. ^ a b "Samoa to establish diplomatic offices in China, Japan", Xinhua, June 23, 2006
  3. ^ "The Pacific Proxy: China vs Taiwan", Graeme Dobell, ABC Radio Australia, February 7, 2007
  4. ^ Young, Audrey (October 19, 2007). "Chequebooks brought out at Pacific forum". The New Zealand Herald. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  5. ^ "China announces initiatives to expand ties with PIF member countries", PRC embassy in Papua New Guinea, November 24, 2003
  6. ^ "China offers aid package to Pacific Islands", China Daily, April 5, 2006
  7. ^ "Chinese Premier Wen to visit the Pacific Islands", Taipei Times, April 3, 2006
  8. ^ "Samoa national hospital to get Chinese funded x-ray machine". Radio New Zealand International. October 8, 2007. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  9. ^ "China to give Samoa more money for education". Radio New Zealand International. January 20, 2008. Retrieved November 2, 2011. 
  10. ^ "World leaders voice support for China's handling of riots", Xinhua, March 27, 2008
  11. ^ "Samoa backs China’s handling of Tibet", Samoa Observer, March 27, 2008
  12. ^ "President Hu Jintao Meets with Samoan Prime Minister", Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, September 17, 2008