Tonga’s tourism, fisheries and agriculture discussed in Guangdong

A direct flight from Guangdong to Tonga and routing Chinese liners through the South Pacific to the Friendly Islands were some of the issues discussed by Tongan delegates and Chinese officials in China Wednesday 8.

A delegation from Tonga led by Deputy Prime Minister, Hon. Siaosi Sovaleni was in China following an invitation by the Chinese government.

Officials from both countries discussed matters related to tourism, fisheries, medicine and agriculture.

The Tongan representatives expressed their gratitude to the Chinese government for allowing the Chinese medical ship, The Peace Ark to visit Tonga last year 2014.

In a statement from Tonga’s Prime Minister’s Office, the Information Director ʻAnitelū Toimoana, who joined the delegation was quoted as saying,  “We had two meetings this afternoon and it was with the Governor of Guangzhou, Zhu Xiaodan”.

“In this meeting the discussion was around areas of tourism, fisheries, medical and agriculture sectors.  The Governor echoed his willingness to see some possible projects in those areas as he can envision great opportunities and development would happen to benefit both Tonga and the Guangzhou Province.”

Xiaodan acknowledged that Tonga and China has been in a diplomatic relationship for 18 years now.

Deputy Prime Minister Hon Siaosi Sovaleni was also quoted in the statement as acknowledging “the visiting of the Chinese Medical ship, The Peace Ark, which treated more than 2,000 Tongan people in one week when it visited [Tonga] last year”.

The Tongan delegates also met with the Director General of the Guangdong Reform and Development Commission, He Ningka and his team.

Hon Sovaleni also told Chinese officials Tonga wanted to see an increase in the number of tourists visiting Tonga and that an opportunity for a direct flight from Guangzhou to the kingdom and other Pacific nationscould make that happen.

In his response He Ningka said a direct flight from China to the South Pacific has already been planned since their President visited Fiji, where he met with all the Pacific Island Leaders last year.

“Other areas that they are planning on in expanding to the Pacific is the routing of their cruise liners to the South Pacific islands including Tonga”, Toʻimoana was quoted as saying.

Members of the Tongan delegations told Chinese officials Tonga wanted to create investment projects on tourist accommodation, open new markets for fisheries, technical assistance and equipment to assist agricultural sector.

He Ningka said Guangzhou is China’s leading tourism destination operating the China Southern Airline, which is one of the biggest airlines in China. He said there was a possibility to provide direct flight from Guangdong to Tonga.

Food processing, disaster risk reduction projects, ICT development, renewable energy and green technology development were also raised during the official meetings.

The 16-member delegation from Tonga included four Cabinet Ministers, seven Parliamentarians, and five government officials arrived in Guangdong on April 8 and will return to the kingdom on April 17.

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