Thursday, January 27, 2011

More Chinese engagement in the Kingdom

© Tevita Motulalo

TWO separate delegations from China are in the kingdom, including a group of entrepreneurs here to scout investment possibilities in the tourism sector.
Chinese construction workers rebuilding Tungi Arcade in Nuku'alofa's CBD.
Last Thursday, the Tonga China Friendship Association, chaired by HRH Princess Pilolevu Tuita welcomed the business group, accompanied by Chinese Ambassador to Tonga, Wang Donghua.
According to the association’s Vice President Siosaia Moehau, “the visit is all about employment for [Tongans], through the attraction of jobs and investment [from China], as well as the increased friendly relations between Tonga and China.”
The delegation also looked into having direct flights from China to Tonga, bypassing South Pacific travel hub New Zealand.
There was discussion about the possibility of establishing a Chinese Investment Bank in Tonga.
Meeting with PM
Meanwhile, in a separate visit, the newly appointed director of the China Civil Engineering Construction Corporation (CCECC) Chen Sicheng met with Lord Prime Minister Tu‘ivakano last Friday afternoon.
The visit was to familiarise Sicheng with his corporation’s clients – CCECC is the main contractor for the reconstruction of downtown Nuku‘alofa.
Sicheng is also the Managing Director of its Foreign Aid Division.
The two parties planned further visits and potential investment in the kingdom in the future.
- By Tevita Motulalo

Friday, January 21, 2011

Defence key to swaying Chinese policy, says new Ambassador

© Tevita Motulalo

New Tongan ambassador to China, Siamelie Latu.
FORMER Colonel at the Tonga Defence Services Siamelie Latu has departed for China to become Tonga’s Ambassador in Beijing.
He replaces Mahe Tupouniua, who returns to Tonga as Secretary of Foreign Affairs.
Speaking to Tonga Chronicle just before departing on Wednesday morning, Latu was optimistic his experience and background will help him in his job.
“I have met a lot of high-ranking commanders and generals from the PLA while working at Tonga Defence and I hope those relationships will further cooperation,” said Latu.
“And it will. In China, if there is any policy lobbied for approval the most effective channel is their Defence. Once the Defence decides it goes, it does.”
Latu has served 33 years in the military, and is himself a graduate of the People’s Liberation Army’s National Defence University in Beijing.
He recently oversaw Tonga Defences’ Foreign Operations and Logistical (intelligence) Unit.
While military engagement between the two countries is likely to continue, Latu said he plans to dedicate a lot of time into facilitating business and investment between sectors of the two countries, “especially tourism”.