China cements its ties with Timor-Leste

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi concluded his recent visits to South Pacific island nations with a highly significant stop, with an intense and packed agenda, to Timor-Leste on June 3-4.

His first reported meeting was with Prime Minister Taur Matab Ruak, who said that his country, “thanked China for speaking up for [his] country in the international arena and supporting Timor-Leste’s integration into the international system.”  For his part, Wang “extended his congratulations on Timor-Leste’s 20th anniversary of the restoration of independence and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Independence Day of Timor-Leste coincides with the date of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which fully demonstrates that the two countries have stood firmly together.”

Wang noted that last year, Timor-Leste’s exports to China increased by more than 90 times, leading Ruak to observe that, “under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has achieved miracles of rapid economic growth and poverty alleviation of hundreds of millions of people. Its great achievements are unparalleled. Timor-Leste looks forward to seizing the huge development opportunities brought by China, expanding bilateral practical cooperation in economy, trade, investment, infrastructure, education and tourism, among others, speeding up self-driven development and bringing more benefits to the people of Timor-Leste.”

In a meeting with Timor-Leste’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, Wang cited the cooperation between the two countries in fighting Covid-19, with nine medical teams sent by China having provided help to 300,000 patients.  Among many further areas identified for cooperation were the cultivation of hybrid rice and the building of agricultural high-tech development zones, to help Timor-Leste achieve self-sufficiency in grain and agricultural modernisation.

Wang also met with Xanana Gusmão, known as Timor-Leste’s Founding Father and who is often compared to Nelson Mandela. Xanana, noting that all the small and medium-sized Pacific Island countries were faced with the common task of development, added that: “What we need is a united response to the challenges, more attention and support from the international community and tangible assistance. The Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to the South Pacific region sent a positive signal, showing that China stands with developing countries and brings hope to small island countries.”

Meeting with Mari Alkatiri, the Secretary-General of Fretilin (The Revolutionary Front for an Independent East Timor), the party which led the armed struggle for independence, Wang said that “Fretilin is a political party with a glorious tradition, which has been committed to the rebirth of the country and the nation since its birth and still plays an important role in the development and revitalisation of Timor-Leste today. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has time-honoured contacts with Fretilin and the two parties have always maintained inter-party exchanges.”  For his part, Alkatiri said that, “China not only firmly defends world peace, but also shares development dividends with other countries and stays committed to upholding fairness and justice. China has never exported its ideology and has brought development and opportunities to all countries. Timor-Leste trusts China, supports China’s development and growth, and is willing to work with China to dedicate to the common pursuits and goals of developing countries.”

Finally, Wang met with President Jose Ramos-Horta, to whom he expressed appreciation for his signing the joint communique on establishing diplomatic ties with China on the day of independence in 2002, when he served as the first Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste.

Prior to his Timor-Leste visit, Wang had visited Solomon Islands, Kiribati, Samoa, Fiji, Tonga, Vanuatu and Papua New Guinea. He also held virtual meetings with the leaders of Micronesia, Cook Islands and Niue, the latter two being still in an essentially colonial relationship with New Zealand. He made a stop over in Malaysia on his way home from Timor-Leste.

The following reports on Wang Yi’s visit to Timor-Leste were originally published on the website of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak Meets with Wang Yi

On June 3, 2022 local time, Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dili.

Ruak warmly welcomed Wang Yi’s visit to Timor-Leste on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries, saying that the visit shows the great importance China attaches to bilateral relations and its positive willingness to deepen bilateral cooperation. Ruak said that Timor-Leste and China have a long history of exchanges and since the establishment of diplomatic ties, the two countries have carried out mutually beneficial cooperation in a wide range of areas. Timor-Leste sincerely thanked China for having assisted the country in a time of urgent need and helping the country safeguard security, deal with disasters and fight the pandemic since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Timor-Leste thanked China for speaking up for the country in the international arena and supporting Timor-Leste’s integration into the international system. Timor-Leste will always be a friend of China and will stay committed to consolidating the achievements of the establishment of diplomatic ties, firmly pursuing the one-China principle, expanding friendly cooperation and opening up new prospects for the development of bilateral relations.

Wang Yi extended his congratulations on Timor-Leste’s 20th anniversary of the restoration of independence and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries. The Independence Day of Timor-Leste coincides with the date of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, which fully demonstrates that the two countries have stood firmly together since the establishment of diplomatic relations. China appreciates Timor-Leste’s adherence to the one-China principle and understanding and supporting China’s efforts to safeguard its core interests and legitimate propositions. China also supports Timor-Leste in upholding sovereignty, independence and national dignity, independently choosing its development path and governance model, and playing a bigger role in regional and international affairs. China is ready to work with Timor-Leste to comprehensively take stock of the successful experience of bilateral exchanges and jointly plan for the development of bilateral relations in the next 20 years.

Wang Yi said that the two sides have signed a memorandum of understanding on Belt and Road cooperation, and the implementation of the “one grid, one road, one port” project in Timor-Leste has given strong support to infrastructure construction and improvement of people’s livelihood in Timor-Leste. China is ready to jointly work out a Belt and Road cooperation plan as soon as possible to identify key areas and inject new impetus into Timor-Leste’s post-pandemic economic recovery and medium- and long-term development. Last year, Timor-Leste’s export to China increased by more than 90 times, fully demonstrating the huge potential of bilateral economic and trade cooperation. China welcomes Timor-Leste to make full use of China’s super-large market opportunities and at the same time, encourages Chinese enterprises to invest and operate in Timor-Leste to support its economic development. China will continue to send medical teams to Timor-Leste to support its fight against the pandemic.

Ruak said, under the leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), China has achieved miracles of rapid economic growth and poverty alleviation of hundreds of millions of population. Its great achievements are unparalleled. Timor-Leste looks forward to seizing the huge development opportunities brought by China, expanding bilateral practical cooperation in economy, trade, investment, infrastructure, education and tourism, among others, speeding up self-driven development and bringing more benefits to the people of Timor-Leste.

Wang Yi said that since its founding, the CPC has adhered to its original aspiration and founding mission of seeking happiness for the Chinese people and rejuvenation for the Chinese nation. China has found a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics suited to its national conditions, and met ten years ahead of schedule the poverty eradication target set out in the UN 2030 Sustainable Development Goals with the population lifted out of poverty in China accounting for 70 percent of poverty reduction worldwide during this period. This is the achievement of the Chinese people, the victory of the people all over the world and the progress of human civilization. We are ready to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries, uphold independence, speed up respective development and achieve common prosperity.

After the meeting, the two sides jointly unveiled the commemorative cover for the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.


Wang Yi Holds Talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno

On June 3, 2022 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Minister of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation of Timor-Leste Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno in Dili.

Wang Yi said, this year is particularly auspicious as it marks both the 20th anniversary of Timor-Leste’s independence and of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Timor-Leste. Over the past 20 years, the two sides have supported and trusted each other with steady development of bilateral relations and increasingly deepening practical cooperation. China appreciates Timor-Leste’s adherence to the consensus on the establishment of diplomatic relations, firm pursuit of the one-China principle, and understanding and supporting China in safeguarding its core interests. China is willing to uphold the original aspiration of establishing diplomatic relations with Timor-Leste, continue the traditional friendship, constantly enrich the connotation of bilateral relations, jointly draw up a better blueprint for bilateral relations in the next 20 years, and set an example of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development among all countries, big or small.

Wang Yi said, the “one grid, one road and one port” project jointly constructed by the two sides in Timor-Leste has become a benchmark for practical cooperation, greatly alleviating the power shortage in Timor-Leste, promoting the infrastructure construction and connectivity in Timor-Leste, and playing a role in building a solid foundation for Timor-Leste’s economic development. Bilateral trade volume nearly doubled year on year last year, and Timor-Leste’s coffee has become an “Internet-famous” product in China, fully demonstrating the resilience and potential of bilateral cooperation. China and Timor-Leste have helped each other in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. China was the first to provide vaccines and anti-pandemic supplies to Timor-Leste, and Chinese medical teams have actively shared experience in pandemic diagnosis and treatment with Timor-Leste. The nine medical teams sent by China to Timor-Leste have treated more than 300,000 patients and won wide acclaim. China will continue to try best to provide assistance and support for Timor-Leste to improve the health and well-being of its people in light of Timor-Leste’s needs.

Adaljiza said, Timor-Leste and China enjoy a time-honored friendship and fruitful practical cooperation. She thanked China for its tremendous help in Timor-Leste’s struggle for independence, national development and security defense. Timor-Leste will continue to adhere to the one-China principle, the cornerstone of bilateral relations, and strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation for diversified development.

The two sides will launch consultations on drafting a text of the Belt and Road cooperation plan at an appropriate time and establish a consultation mechanism at the vice-foreign-minister level.

The two sides are ready to deepen the synergy of development strategies and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in key areas such as infrastructure, energy and production capacity, poverty alleviation, education and health, so as to contribute to Timor-Leste’s self-driven development and improve people’s well-being.

The two sides hope to continue cooperation in hybrid rice and Juncao technology, and build agricultural high-tech development zones, to help Timor-Leste achieve self-sufficiency in grain and agricultural modernization. The two sides also hope to explore fishery cooperation across the industrial chain to help Timor-Leste boost local employment and tax revenue.

The two sides agreed to strengthen coordination in regional affairs. Wang Yi said, China supports Timor-Leste in playing a bigger role in regional affairs, supports Timor-Leste’s accession to the World Trade Organization and is willing to share its experience with Timor-Leste. Timor-Leste is welcome to continue to actively participate in the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.

The two sides reached high degree of consensus on advocating and upholding multilateralism. Wang Yi said, multilateralism underpins the growth and prosperity of developing countries. Under the international situation with a swirling combination of change and instability, China is ready to work with developing countries, including Timor-Leste to support the United Nations in playing a central role, safeguard the international order underpinned by international law, oppose unilateral bullying, the Cold War mentality and bloc confrontation, safeguard regional peace and stability, and in particular prevent chaos in other regions from being replicated in the region.

The two sides also exchanged views on the Security Council reform. Wang Yi stressed that China believes that the Security Council reform should first increase the representation and say of developing countries and enable more small and medium-sized countries to participate in the decision-making of the Security Council.

After the talks, the two sides attended the signing ceremony of cooperation documents on economy and technology, digital television, medical and health care, and unveiled the Confucius Classroom at Timor-Leste Institute of Business and the China-Timor-Leste Friendship Football Field.


Wang Yi Meets with Timor-Leste’s Founding Father Xanana Gusmão

On June 4, 2022 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Timor-Leste’s Founding Father Xanana Gusmão in Dili.

Xanana asked Wang Yi to convey his respect and greetings to President Xi Jinping, extended congratulations on the successful holding of the second China-Pacific Island Countries Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and expressed appreciation for China’s active commitment to cooperation with Pacific Island Countries (PICs). Xanana said that China is crucial to the development of PICs. Small and medium-sized countries, including Timor-Leste and other PICs are all faced with the common task of development. What we need is a united response to the challenges, more attention and support from the international community and tangible assistance. The Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to the South Pacific region sent a positive signal, showing that China stands with developing countries and brings hope to small island countries. Small and medium-sized countries should not be forgotten, and are looking forward to deepening friendly cooperation with China. He hopes that the international community will pay more attention to the Group of Seven Plus (G7+) and expects that China will make greater contributions to the development and revitalization of small and medium-sized countries.

Wang Yi appreciated Xanana’s outstanding contributions to the development of bilateral relations and his sense of justice for redressing historical injustices. He said, as a major developing country and responsible country, China has a diplomatic tradition of treating small and medium-sized countries as equals. It is our due obligation to uphold the interests of developing countries, and it is our international responsibility to help them accelerate development and revitalization. China has never sought a sphere of influence, nor is it interested in any geopolitical rivalry. Some countries presume others’ behavior based on their own experience, misjudge or even smear China, but people of all countries see clearly that in the face of the fruits of cooperation, any false accusations have no audience. China has repeatedly stated its readiness to carry out more trilateral and multilateral cooperation and form international synergy to help small and medium-sized countries accelerate development and revitalization. No country should be forgotten and no region should be marginalized. China will continue to stand firmly on the side of developing countries.

Wang Yi appreciated Xanana’s initiative to establish the G7+ and welcomed the active participation of the G7+ and its member countries in the Global Development Initiative and joint efforts towards the realization of the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Xanana said, he fully agrees with a series of important initiatives put forward by President Xi Jinping, and looks forward to learning from China’s successful experience and tapping the huge potential of bilateral cooperation to help Timor-Leste and other small and medium-sized countries achieve independent and diversified development.


Wang Yi Meets with General-Secretary of Fretilin of Timor-Leste Mari Alkatiri

On June 4, 2022 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with General-Secretary of Fretilin of Timor-Leste Mari Alkatiri and President of the National Parliament of Timor-Leste Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes in Dili.

Wang Yi said that Fretilin is a political party with a glorious tradition, which has been committed to the rebirth of the country and the nation since its birth and still plays an important role in the development and revitalization of Timor-Leste today. The Communist Party of China (CPC) has time-honored contacts with Fretilin and the two parties have always maintained inter-party exchanges. China appreciates that Fretilin firmly pursues the one-China principle and is willing to take the joint commemoration of the 20th anniversary of Timor-Leste’s independence and the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries as an opportunity to enhance exchanges, consolidate mutual trust and deepen friendship.

Wang Yi said that the important experience of the CPC, which has been exercising long-term and steady governance and has been widely supported by Chinese people, is, firstly, to preserve its advanced nature, insist on keeping abreast of the times and adapting the advanced tenets of Marxism to China’s specific practices. The second is to adhere to the people-centered nature, practice the original aspiration and mission, and uphold the principle of “from the people, to the people”. The third is to focus on stability, successively make and practice development planning, and stick to the blueprint. The fourth is to ensure purity, adhere to the self-revolution, make a tough decision and show zero tolerance in fighting corruption, and establish a complete monitoring system. As 95 million party members unite “as strong as a piece of steel”, we have the confidence and ability to overcome all difficulties and challenges to achieve the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation.

Alkatiri said that since the independence of Timor-Leste, the two sides have maintained close contacts and active exchanges, and have become good partners in the Belt and Road cooperation. He expressed his sincere gratitude to China for standing together with Timor-Leste during the formidable years and providing strong support for Timor-Leste in various fields such as national construction, economic development and fighting against the pandemic. Timor-Leste has never changed its adherence to the one-China principle and is committed to strengthening planning and deepening mutually beneficial cooperation with China.

Alkatiri said that the Chinese civilization has a millennia-long history, and the CPC has led the Chinese people all the way from going through difficult times to securing glorious achievements. China not only firmly defends world peace, but also shares development dividends with other countries and stays committed to upholding fairness and justice. China has never exported its ideology and has brought development and opportunities to all countries. Timor-Leste trusts China, supports China’s development and growth, and is willing to work with China to dedicate to the common pursuits and goals of developing countries.

Wang Yi stressed that China’s development relies on hard work, wisdom and tenacious struggle, not aggression and colonization, let alone power politics and bullying. China’s continuous development is a growing force for peace in the world and an increasing factor for global stability, providing more development opportunities for all countries. We are especially willing to sincerely help developing countries, small and medium-sized countries to accelerate development. China never attaches any political strings to its foreign cooperation and never imposes on others. Now some countries try to draw ideological lines in the international community and create new bloc confrontation, which is against the trend of the times and is doomed to fail. China will always be a friend and partner that developing countries can trust and rely on.


Timor-Leste’s President Jose Ramos-Horta Meets with Wang Yi

On June 4, 2022 local time, Timor-Leste’s President Jose Ramos-Horta met with State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Dili.

Ramos-Horta asked Wang Yi to convey his sincere greetings to President Xi Jinping, saying Timor-Leste admires China’s extraordinary achievements under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and fully supports the Belt and Road Initiative and other major initiatives proposed by President Xi Jinping. China’s development not only greatly benefits Timor-Leste, but also is of great significance to the region and the world.

Ramos-Horta thanked the Chinese government and people for their tremendous support in the past years. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, we have unswervingly adhered to the one-China principle no matter what difficulties and pressures we faced. Timor-Leste is full of confidence in and expectation for the future of bilateral relations.

Wang Yi conveyed President Xi Jinping’s cordial greetings. He expressed appreciation to President Ramos-Horta for signing the joint communique on establishing diplomatic ties with China on the day of independence in 2002 when he served as the first Foreign Minister of Timor-Leste, who jointly opened a new page in bilateral relations, and witnessed and promoted bilateral friendship. Wang Yi said, over the past 20 years, the two countries have treated each other as equals, understood each other and supported each other. Timor-Leste has become an important partner of the Belt and Road Initiative, and China has played a positive role in Timor-Leste’s economic and social development, infrastructure construction and improvement of people’s lives. Immediately after the COVID-19 outbreak, China sent charter flights to Timor-Leste to help its fight against the pandemic. Chinese medical teams treated patients and saved lives in Timor-Leste, and have benefited 300,000 people in the country. China has also taken an active part in the UN peacekeeping mission in Timor-Leste, contributing to peace and stability there. China is ready to work with Timor-Leste to take the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties as an opportunity to review their successful experience and draw up a blueprint for the future, so as to elevate the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new level and set an example of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development among countries of all sizes.

Wang Yi said, the two sides need to promote high-quality Belt and Road cooperation and initiate new landmark projects. China is ready to support Timor-Leste in enhancing its capability for self-development, accelerating its agricultural modernization and industrialization, and achieving diversified development. The Chinese side will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest and start businesses in Timor-Leste, contributing to its development and revitalization.

The two sides reached consensus on strengthening regional cooperation. Wang Yi said, China supports Timor-Leste in playing an active role in regional and international affairs and expects to see its early entry into the Association of Southeast Asian Nations and becoming a member of the Asian family, on which Ramos-Horta expressed gratitude for China’s support as well as the hope that the long-cherished wish will come true at an early date.

The two sides pledged to uphold and safeguard multilateralism. Wang Yi said, China expects Timor-Leste to take an active part in the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative proposed by President Xi Jinping, both of which have won widespread support. Ramos-Horta said, Timor-Leste always sticks to its principles despite being a small nation. Timor-Leste advocates peaceful settlement of differences through dialogue and consultation as well as unity in responding to challenges facing international peace and security.

On the same day, Wang Yi met with Timor-Leste’s Founding Father Xanana Gusmão, General-Secretary of Fretilin Mari Alkatiri and President of the National Parliament Aniceto Longuinhos Guterres Lopes.

During the visit, Wang Yi met with Timor-Leste’s Prime Minister Taur Matan Ruak, held talks with Timor-Leste’s Foreign Minister Adaljiza Albertina Xavier Reis Magno, and attended the signing ceremony of cooperation documents.

After the meeting, Wang Yi, accompanied by Ramos-Horta, met the press and answered impromptu questions.

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