Xiplomacy: China, Nauru gathering momentum for growth of ties -Xinhua

Xiplomacy: China, Nauru gathering momentum for growth of ties

Source: Xinhua

Editor: huaxia

2024-03-26 21:32:31

People enjoy leisure time in a bay in the Republic of Nauru, Jan. 18, 2024. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)

During talks with the Nauruan president, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged that the Chinese side is ready to work with the island nation to expand cooperation in economy and trade, climate change, as well as in infrastructure, among other sectors.

BEIJING, March 26 (Xinhua) -- The Pacific island nation Nauru on Monday signed up for the Belt and Road Initiative in the presence of its president, David Adeang, who is on a state visit to China on March 24-29, and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

It is Adeang's first China trip since the two countries restored diplomatic ties earlier this year.

During talks with the Nauruan leader, Xi pledged that the Chinese side is ready to work with the island nation to expand cooperation in economy and trade, climate change, as well as in infrastructure, among other sectors.

As the two presidents are charting the course for further growth of bilateral ties, a Chinese-aided solar power project being built with the participation of nearly 100 Nauruan workers has already begun to make a difference to local communities, a living testament to the fast-growing win-win cooperation between the two countries.

A man works at the construction site of redevelopment project of Aiwo Harbor in the Republic of Nauru, Jan. 18, 2024. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)


Nauru, with its beautiful tropical scenery and brilliant sunshine, is endearingly dubbed as a "pearl of the Pacific." In the southwestern part of the island nation, rows of blue photovoltaic panels are neatly arranged close to the azure sea, reflecting the dazzling tropical sunlight.

Once connected to the grid, the photovoltaic power generation and energy storage project being constructed by a Chinese company can meet the electricity demand of the entire island.

The project will reduce Nauru's dependence on diesel, bringing down the costs in electricity generation, improving local power supply and increase the share of renewable energy generation. Most importantly, it will significantly add to Nauru's environmental protection efforts, thereby achieving its sustainable development goals.

"Now Nauru's power generation mainly relies on diesel. That's expensive and would pollute the environment," said John Scott, who has been working for the project since 2022.

"There is a lot of sunshine here and it's good for solar power. I believe electricity supply here will be much better when the project is completed," Scott told Xinhua.

On top of building the power project, China Harbour Engineering Company Ltd is also undertaking the redevelopment of Nauru's largest harbor, Aiwo Harbor.

Starting in 2019, the project to be completed in 2025 includes harbor dredging and the construction of a new wharf, a desalination system and a container yard, among other facilities. And in September 2022, the new wharf was put into operation.

The modern seaport has also brought cutting-edge technologies and job opportunities to the island country, facilitating local economic growth by expanding its connectivity with the rest of the world.

Zhu Wei, the contractor's deputy manager and construction manager of the project, has witnessed the development of Aiwo Harbor over the past five years.

"In the past, the old wharf was too small for container ships to dock directly, and they only came once every two months. Now the containers can dock directly at the new wharf, and they come every month or even every 20 days," Zhu told Xinhua.

As the facilities are gradually taking shape, Zhu is proud of his efforts over the past years. "I'm looking forward to seeing the projects I have personally participated in contribute more to the economic development of Nauru."

The rationale behind Nauru's decision to resume diplomatic ties with China "of course is about Nauru's development strategy," Lionel Aingimea, Nauru's foreign minister, said when visiting China in January.

"No developing country wants to be left behind," he said.

This photo taken on Jan. 20, 2024 shows a coastal view of the Republic of Nauru. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)


Being a Pacific island nation, Nauru is struggling to cope with such pressing challenges as rising sea levels and land erosion brought about by climate change. Worse still, the meager resources of fresh water for daily life is a persistent concern for local residents.

Due to its unfavorable natural conditions for cultivation, Nauru heavily relies on imports of agricultural products, vegetables and fruits, resulting in high prices in the market, said Joanna Olsson, director of the Government Information Office of Nauru.

Juncao, a hybrid grass developed by Chinese scientists as a major multi-functional agricultural resource, offers a feasible resolution to these woes. Translated literally as mushroom grass, Juncao can be used for mushroom farming, or as livestock forage and poultry feed, and a green barrier to forestall desertification.

When working in east China's Fujian Province more than two decades ago, Xi Jinping introduced the Juncao technology to a visiting provincial governor from Papua New Guinea, another island nation in the Pacific, marking the beginning of international cooperation on Juncao technology.

Having taken root in over 100 countries and regions around the globe, Juncao has been hailed by the locals as the "Chinese grass" or "grass of happiness."

Last month, Hess-Tekai Foilape, an agricultural extension officer for Nauru's Department of Environment, Management and Agriculture, became the first person from Nauru to attend a Juncao technology training course held by Chinese scientists in Fiji.

"I believe that adopting Juncao technology in Nauru would be highly beneficial for our country. Potential impacts include improved food security, increased resilience to climate change, and enhanced economic opportunities through the development of new industries," Foilape told Xinhua.

People use fishing nets to catch seafood in the sea in the Republic of Nauru, Jan. 18, 2024. (Xinhua/Wang Shen)


Both developing countries, China and Nauru face the common tasks of growing the economy, improving people's wellbeing and realizing modernization.

China has won the hearts of the people of Nauru with its own deeds, Foreign Minister Aingimea said.

Recalling his visit to a waste-to-energy plant and an electric vehicle factory in China, he said what impressed him most was "how advanced it is."

"The technology blew my mind, absolutely amazing," he said, depicting China's path towards modernization as "fast and visionary."

The Belt and Road Initiative brings development opportunities to Pacific island nations, said Olsson, who is optimistic about future cooperation between the two nations, particularly on climate change, water supply and agriculture.

In his meeting with Adeang, Xi said China is ready to provide assistance to Nauru for its independent and sustainable development without political strings attached.

Friendship, old or new, will have a bright future as long as it is started. Cooperation, whatever its size, will be productive as long as it is sincere, Xi said.