Interview: Nauruan minister extends warm welcome to Chinese tourists to visit small country with big heart

(Xinhua) 10:44, January 20, 2024

YAREN, Jan. 20 (Xinhua) -- On the occasion of the Chinese Lunar New Year, Nauru welcomes Chinese tourists to enjoy its traditional dragon dance performances and savor top-quality tuna in the Pacific island country, Charmaine Scotty, Nauru's minister for health and internal affairs, said on Friday.

"This is something from me to all the Chinese tourists. We are here in Nauru. If you look us up, we are a very small place on the map, but we have a very big heart," Scotty told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

"And we certainly welcome you to come to our island, meet us and bring whatever you can to teach us about your country. Because you come from a very big country to a very small place, we can learn a lot from you," the minister said.

Nauru has recently announced that it recognizes the one-China principle and severed "diplomatic relations" with the Taiwan authorities.

Scotty said she looks forward to the future tourism cooperation between Nauru and China.

Compared to other Pacific island nations, Nauru's tourism industry is not well-developed as the country did not recognize the role of tourism in economic development, the minister said.

She expressed the desire to expand cooperation with China in tourism, infrastructure and other areas to enhance cultural exchanges and continue the friendship between the two countries.

Noting that tourism is a crucial part of Nauru-China cooperation, Scotty said it boasts the potential to boost the development of local related industries such as hotels and aviation, and improve Nauru's infrastructure.

Strengthening tourism cooperation can also promote cultural exchanges, fostering better understanding and friendship between the people of both nations, according to the minister.

"Most of us (Nauruans) know the Chinese Lunar New Year because there will be the 'dragon' going around the island, with children running after it," Scotty noted. Nauruans also appreciate Chinese cuisine and Chinese visitors will be pleasantly surprised to find Chinese restaurants on the island. Besides, Nauru aims to enhance Chinese language education, enabling more Nauruans to learn Chinese, the minister added.

In Nauru, several projects undertaken by Chinese enterprises are currently under construction. Scotty mentioned that through these projects, she has made many Chinese friends, further increasing her interest in China.

"We call them friends...When Chinese talk to us, unless they know our name, they call us friends too," Scotty said.

The minister, who led a delegation to the 2010 Shanghai Expo, said she was deeply impressed by the cityscape of Shanghai and expressed her hope for another opportunity to visit China, especially to tour the iconic Chinese tourist attraction of the Great Wall. 

(Web editor: Xue Yanyan, Hongyu)


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