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Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is on a 10-day visit to Pacific island countries. His visit schedule has reflected China's sincerity and commitment to deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership with the countries featuring mutual respect and common development.

Wang paid official visits to eight countries and a virtual visit to the Federated States of Micronesia upon invitation. He also held video conference with the prime minister and foreign minister of the Cook Islands and the premier and foreign minister of Niue.

During the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers' Meeting held Monday in Fiji, the first face-to-face version since the mechanism was established last year, the two sides reached a five-point consensus, to deepen their comprehensive strategic partnership; safeguard sovereignty, independence and national dignity; pursue common development and prosperity; uphold true multilateralism; and promote mutual understanding among the people.

China and Pacific island countries enjoy a time-honored friendship, with their connection dating back over a hundred years ago when Chinese emigrants came across the ocean and took roots in local communities.

Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in the 1970s, China and its Pacific counterparts have expanded bilateral exchanges and cooperation in more than 20 areas, including trade, ocean affairs, environmental protection, poverty alleviation and public health, among others, according to a fact sheet published by the Chinese Foreign Ministry in May.

The shared aspiration for development has injected strong momentum into the growth of China-Pacific island countries relations. The island countries, like other developing countries, are still facing numerous challenges yet to overcome, while China, the largest developing country that has accumulated a great deal of experience in socio-economic development, is always ready to lend a helping hand.

"China is ready to help Pacific Island countries find a development path of poverty reduction suited to their own national conditions, so that they can better cope with major public health events and natural disasters, and enhance the capacity to cope with climate change," said Chinese President Xi Jinping in a phone conversation with Manasseh Sogavare, prime minister of the Solomon Islands, in September 2021.

China has pledged to help the island countries build a climate resilient blue economy, and provide training opportunities through the China-Pacific Island Countries Climate Change Cooperation Center.

In addition, China has implemented nearly 500 complete plant projects, technical assistance, in-kind assistance and concessional loan projects in Pacific island countries, helping them build infrastructure such as roads, bridges, wharfs, hospitals and schools, and train about 10,000 professionals in various fields, according to a position paper issued after the ministers' meeting on Monday.

Most importantly, China's assistance and cooperation are free of political conditions, proving it is a trustworthy friend and partner. "Unlike the U.S. and its allies like Australia, or international bodies like the World Bank and the Asian Development Bank, Beijing usually does not tie its aid to economic and governance reforms," read an Aljazeera report released last week.

Furthermore, China has been working with Pacific island countries to achieve common development and prosperity without targeting at anyone. From 1992 to 2021, trade volume between China and Pacific island countries having diplomatic relations with China registered an average annual increase of 13 percent and expanded by over 30 times.

Those who are too obsessed with the Monroe Doctrine and the idea of "a sphere of influence" should respect the rights of the Pacific island countries as a sovereign nation to manage their own affairs and make decisions in their own best interests.

For friends in need, China is always a friend indeed. Stronger cooperation between China and its Pacific partners will not only serve the interest of both sides, but also ensure the peace and stability of the entire region. 

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