China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Friday that the prime ministers of the Republic of Vanuatu and Solomon Islands will pay official visits to China. Chinese experts anticipate that the visits will further strengthen the relations between China and the Pacific island countries to a higher level, as there is still great potential for further cooperation.

At the invitation of Premier Li Qiang of the State Council, Vanuatu Prime Minister Charlot Salwai o will pay an official visit to China from 07 -12 July, and solomon Islands Prime Minister Jeremiah Manele will pay an official visit to China from 09 – 15 July, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said on Friday.

During the visit, the leaders of the two countries will exchange views on China-Vanuatu relations and major issues of mutual interest, and jointly chart the future course for the bilateral relationship, said Mao.

Since our two countries established diplomatic relations 42 years ago, bilateral relations have come a long way. Our two sides have steadily advanced practical cooperation. China aims to work with Vanuatu through Prime Minister Salwai’s visit to carry forward the traditional friendship, enhance all-round mutual support, take the relationship to a new height and deliver more benefits for the two peoples, according to Mao.

Mao said that this will be the first official visit by Prime Minister Manele to China since he took office in May. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations five years ago, under the strategic guidance of the leaders of both countries, China and Solomon Islands have achieved rapid growth in bilateral ties.

The two sides have firmly supported each other on issues concerning our respective core interests and major concerns. The exchanges and cooperation in various sectors between the two sides have delivered fruitful results. Prime Minister Manele’s visit to China is a great opportunity for the two sides to work together to further strengthen strategic communication, expand practical cooperation, and advance our bilateral ties, the spokesperson noted.

The cooperation between China and Solomon Islands has yielded fruitful and practical results in the past five years, as the cooperation in the joint ventures, investment programs, and trade activities have greatly benefited the economic growth of the island country, Chen Hong, a professor and executive director of the Asia Pacific Studies Centre at East China Normal University, told the Global Times on Friday.

China-Solomon Islands ties have set an example for South-South cooperation, said Chen.

China has been providing significant support for the development and improvement of infrastructure in the Solomon Islands, particularly in the areas of transport and logistics, the expert said.

China and Vanuatu have also maintained mutually beneficial cooperation in recent years. No matter how Western countries try to discredit China’s cooperation with Pacific island countries, ultimately the people of these countries have the greatest say in the matter, according to Chen.

Manele’s inaugural international tour includes stops in Australia, China and Japan, and the visit to China is expected to strengthen relations with China. The cooperation between China and Pacific island countries has been successful and is developing, with room for further growth, especially in addressing climate change. There is great potential for further cooperation between China and Pacific island countries, Chen noted.