China enlists Pacific island countries as tourist destinations

China announced Monday that it enlists South Pacific Island states of Fiji, Vanuatu, Tonga and the Cook Islands as tourist destinations for its citizens.

The announcement was made by Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhou Wenzhong at a dialogue meeting between China and the 16-member Pacific Islands Forum (PIF) here.

There are still some other South Pacific island countries asking China to grant them the Approved Destination Status like the four countries, Zhou told reporters after the meeting.

The meeting is one in a series PIF holds with its 12 dialogue partners after its 35th summit concluded last Saturday.

He described the meeting as a "fruitful dialogue."

Zhou also said China will inject 800,000 US dollars to the PIF Trade Office in China to cover its operation from 2005 to 2008.

China will run a training program for diplomats of South Pacific Island countries for PIF members and Secretariat representatives in October, according to Zhou.

"All these measures give expression to the Chinese government's sincerity to develop friendly relations with PIF and its members," he said.

China's trade and economic relations with PIF members keep growing. Along with the rapid development of China's trade ties with Australia and New Zealand, trade volume between China and PIF members increased 68 percent to reach 500 million US dollars last year, according to Chinese official figures.

The PIF was established in 1971 as an inter-governmental body aiming at enhancing cooperation among the countries of the Pacific Ocean.

It groups Australia, the Cook Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, Kiribati, Nauru, New Zealand, Niue, Palau, Papua New Guinea, the Marshall Islands, Samoa, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.



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