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.
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