FSM president visits China, focuses on practical cooperation in digital economy, green development

A view of Guangzhou, South China's Guangdong Province Photo: VCG

A view of Guangzhou, South China’s Guangdong Province Photo: VCG

Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) President Wesley W. Simina is paying a visit to China with stops in South China’s Guangdong Province on Saturday, visiting the manufacturing hub of Dongguan and tech hub of Shenzhen. 

His itinerary includes a logistics hub operated by Luen Thai Holdings, communications equipment maker Hytera and an ecological park in Shenzhen.

The itinerary is indicative of the vast potential of economic cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, climate change and technology, Chinese experts and industry insiders told the Global Times on Sunday.

President Simina, on his first state visit to China since he took office, thanked the southern Chinese province for its long-time support to his country and expressed hopes to further expand cooperation in the fields of marine fisheries, healthcare, education and infrastructure to achieve win-win results, according to 21jingji.com, a Chinese news outlet based in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong, on Saturday.

 

The president was one of several heads of state from the Global South who started their trips in China with visits to China’s southern provinces, which are China’s economic powerhouses. Since last year, top leaders from Algeria, Zambia and Venezuela all included Guangdong in their itineraries.

Hu Bingshuang, a Hytera deputy general manager who briefed the FSM president on Saturday, told the Global Times on Sunday that during the president’s visit to the company, which lasted for about two hours, the president took great care to inquire about the capability, compatibility and cost of Hytera’s gear.

“We believe as bilateral ties grow stronger, there will be opportunities for our products to serve the people of the FSM and improve the operational efficiency for FSM clients at affordable costs,” Hu said.

Chinese experts said the visit, which includes industrial firms and ecological installations, showed the vast potential of China, and the Pacific Island countries (PICs), both being developing countries, in practical cooperation. 

The vitality of China’s economic powerhouses will provide valuable insights for foreign leaders studying the potential of economic cooperation with China, Chinese analysts noted.

“Against the backdrop of the renewed US push to exert more control over South Pacific countries, the FSM’s visit to China highlights the country’s determination to enhance bilateral ties and expand the depth and breadth of such cooperation,” Chen Hong, president of the Chinese Association of Australian Studies and director of the Australian Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Analysts pointed out that China’s economic and trade cooperation with the PICs has been closely aligned with the actual needs of local economic development and improvement of living standards of local residents, as China is committed to improving local infrastructure, healthcare, education and other development areas.

“These areas of cooperation will help Micronesia to change the situation of its economy being heavily reliant on aid from the US, which often turned out to be lip service instead of concrete benefits,” Chen said.

“In addition to traditional investment fields, which include the construction of roads and ports, the two countries could cooperate in tackling climate change, especially disaster relief and prevention, as the PICs face the existential threat of climate change,” Chen said, noting that such a practical approach is more suited to the local conditions of PICs than the Western countries’ approach, which provides no or little construction work in order to reduce emissions.

In recent years, China’s economic and trade cooperation with the PICs has continuously expanded, bringing tangible benefits to the region. However, this has triggered strategic anxiety in the US. Driven by a zero-sum game mindset, the US has shifted from its previous arrogance toward the region, with frequent visits by high-ranking officials.

Analysts noted that China’s economic and trade cooperation with the PICs, without attaching any political conditions, has become a model of South-South cooperation and in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative.

“What we do in the island country is building roads and bridges, not increasing our military presence,” Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told FSM officials in June 2022.

China stands ready to work with the FSM and takes this visit as an opportunity to enhance political mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation, expand cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and further advance bilateral relations, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin told a routine press conference on April 3.

Bilateral relations have made steady progress with fruitful practical cooperation in various fields that has benefited both peoples and contributed to peace, stability and development in the region, the Foreign Ministry spokesperson said.