Bilateral ties between Fiji and the People’s Republic of China are at its peak with enhanced engagement in many spheres including defence cooperation.


Ministry of Defence and National Security permanent secretary Manasa Lesuma drew upon this growing engagement which have seen more assistance in the ‘defence and security space’ between the two countries.


Speaking at the deck reception on board the Chinese PLA Navy Training Ship Qi Jiguang, which docked at the Suva wharf this week, Mr Lesuma said this was not the first time the vessel had visited Fiji and it would not be the last.


“Our increasing engagements which spans across all facets of the Fijian economy, governance and society is one that has been mutually beneficial for both our nations.”


“Our relations have only grown stronger and your visit this week is testament of our unwavering 44 years of friendship.”


Mr Lesuma said the continued cooperation between the Chinese People’s Liberation Army and the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) have contributed greatly towards the capacity and capability development of the two forces.


Enlisting some of these cooperation, he highlighted the training exercises extended to RFMF, which has produced professional, highly skilled and strategic leaders and the financial grants through Gratis Protocol amounting to millions of dollars, which has enabled Fiji to procure essential equipment’s to support operations.


“The new Hydrographic Vessel - RFNS KACAU that was donated to us late last year, which has greatly enhanced our Hydrographic capabilities and the continued reciprocal visitation of Senior Government Officials, Defence Personnel and Defence Assets such as this PLA Navy Qijiguang which only cements the strong relations between our forces and assures our continued friendship.”


Prime Minister Hon. Voreqe Bainimarama, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ratu Epeli Nailatikau, Cabinet Ministers, People’s Republic of China’s Ambassador to Fiji, His Excellency Qian Bo, senior Government officials, the diplomatic corps. and local Chinese community were present at the reception.


Prior to the reception, Prime Minister Bainimarama was given a tour of the vessel which was constructed in 2015 and has the capacity to carry 550 people.