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Fiji a sincere friend and important partner: China

IANS 22 Nov 2014, 6:44:13 AM IST

Nadi (Fiji): China sees Fiji as a sincere friend and an important partner in the Pacific Islands region, Chinese President Xi Jinping said, during his visit to the island country.

The Chinese president met his Fijian counterpart Epeli Nailatikau on Friday and said that his country firmly supports the Fijian people in their efforts to independently choose a development path that fits their national conditions, Xinhua reported.

China also stands behind Fiji's efforts to develop its economy and improve the lives of its people, and backs its reasonable appeals in the international arena, Xi said.

Noting that next year marks the 40th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Fiji, Xi said that China is willing to strengthen exchanges with Fiji at various levels and push for a further progress in bilateral ties.

"I hope my visit can open a new chapter in friendly and cooperative bilateral relations," Xi said.

For his part, Nailatikau thanked Beijing for the support and assistance China has long been offering, and said Xi's visit will definitely lift bilateral ties to a higher level.

Fiji, he added, is committed to maintaining national stability and development, and regards the development of its relations with China as a cornerstone of its "Look North" policy, which is aimed at enriching the country's relations with Asia.

Xi arrived in Nadi earlier Friday. Fiji is the last stop in his three-nation South
Pacific tour, which had taken him to Australia and New Zealand.

Xi's visit to Fiji is the first in history by a Chinese president.