Story and Photos by Apulu Lance Polu
BEIJING: 25 May 2012: Samoa’s Speaker of Parliament, La’auli Leuatuea Schmidt is leading a delegation of political leaders from the Pacific now on a study tour of the Peoples Republic of China.
The delegates include parliamentarians, political leaders and key government officials from the Federated States of Micronesia, the Republic of Fiji, the Kingdom of Tonga, the Republic of Vanuatu and the Independent State of Samoa.
Hosted by the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China IDPC), the delegation has met high level political leaders and government officials of the South eastern coastal city of Xiamen Province, the ethnic minority autonomous region in Ningxia and the capital city, Beijing.
It is the second delegation of political leaders from the Pacific islands to have had a study tour of China.
“These are longer visits than official visits,” explained Mr. Ma Hui, the Director General of the International Department of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) who overseas Pacific Islands affairs and had been accompanying the delegation throughout the visit.
“We need to understand each other better for our mutual progress and development so it is a win-win situation not only for China but the Pacific island states,” said Ma Hui.
He said the global economic recession has had the United States sell more cars in China which is helping the US.
“China needs to work together with the United States for a win-win situation as it will also help the Pacific island countries,” he said.
While China undergoes economic, social and political reform with its own brand of communism, the suspicion of the western world has influenced the small Pacific islands who are former colonies and still have influence through the media from its former colonial powers.
“Samoa and the Pacific are one,” stated the delegation leader La’auli Leuatea Schmidt.
“We are also one with China as we have more than political connections due to our family links from the past,” referring to first Chinese workers who came in late 20th century, stayed and intermarried and their descendants have become the mainstay of various sectors of Samoa’s economic, social and political life to date.
Meeting the leading government officials in Xiamen, Ningxia and Beijing, La’auli reiterated the need for trade and
“There is no more room for argument, but to negotiate, consolidate and cooperate for our mutual benefit and progress,” he reiterated.
The delegation met with the Minister of the International Department, Mr. Wang Jiarui who visited Samoa and presented the sports facilities for the South Pacific Games in 2007.
The delegation will also meet China’s fourth most powerful political leader, Mr. Jia Qinglin, the Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party’s Central Committee and the current Chairman of the Chinese Peoples’ Consultative Conference (CPPCC). Mr Jia Qinglin visited Samoa earlier this year.
The delegation include: La’auli Leuatea Schmidt (Leader), Mrs. Heather Schmidt, Palusalue Faapo 11 – Leader of the Tautua Samoa Opposition Party, Leaupepe Toleafoa Fa’afisi – Former Speaker and former Minister of Police and Afualo Dr. Wood Salele – Shadow Minister of Finance, Tautua Party. Federated States of Micronesia: Kandhi A. Elieisar (Member of Parliament); Republic of Fiji: Iva Tavai, Apisalome Movono, Samuela Namosimalua, Akosita Drova; Kingdom of Tonga: Hon Fulivai – Lord Mayor, Siosifa Tu’utafaiva; Republic of Vanuatu: John Amos (MP), Georgio Calo (MP) and Avio Robert (MP).