China’s Consul in French Polynesia, Tian Lixiao (R), poses with French Polynesia’s Vice-President Eliane Tevahitua. Photo: French Polynesia’s Presidency/23110103
In a rare interview, China’s Consul in French Polynesia, Tian Lixiao has told local media his country was in favour of a direct air link with Tahiti. He also shared his country's views on a wide range of topics directly affecting the Pacific region.
arrived in Papeete just a year ago for a three-year posting.
publication of his interview in local daily La Dépêche de Tahiti came just a
few days ahead of the visit of Paris-based US Ambassador Denise Campbell Bauer
as part of a one-week tour of the French Pacific.
about the worldwide perception of an increasingly tense struggle for power
between China and the United States, including in the Pacific region, he
replied: "I don't think there is a struggle for influence in this region
or anywhere else for that matter, these are ideas that have been created by
aspiration is to seek a common development with shared benefits (...) There are
common issues and we need to address them together. This is the logic that
drives our wish to develop cooperation with Pacific countries".
whether China was providing support to pro-independence movements in the French
Pacific, including New Caledonia, he said Beijing was applying a policy of
non-interference and that "China just wants good relations with local
governments of the day".
also rejected as "irresponsible and defamatory" accusations of
overfishing in the Pacific Ocean by Chinese fishing boats.
similarly denied that a recent Chinese-driven initiative to establish an aqua
farming project in Hao atoll had any geopolitical motives due to the unusual
length of the existing air strip.
project did not eventuate, for lack of approval by local authorities and the
Chinese promoters were now believed to be seeking to set up their aqua farm in
other Pacific islands.
have neither the intention nor the will to play geopolitical games in the
region", he stressed.
future tourism development projects, Tian told local media his country was in
favour of the establishment of a direct air link between China and Tahiti and
that steps were being taken in that direction.
matter was discussed recently with French Polynesia's President Moetai
Brotherson, he said.
even though an in-principle agreement on the matter was signed in 2014, some
issues remained to be sorted out to lure more Chinese tourists to these French
Pacific islands, such as the issuance of visas and the long distance, flight
on the special relations with French Polynesia's affluent community of Chinese
ascent, which is regarded as well-integrated in the social, cultural, economic
and political fabric, he said Chinese culture was still very much alive and
that he was exchanging with them "very often" and "on many
are proud of their Chinese origins, even though they are 3rd, 4th and 5th
generation descendants from the original migrants over 150 years ago, they
maintain very strong links with China, especially on the cultural and
historical sides. And most importantly, they are a very strong and precious
bridge in the China-French Polynesia friendship", the diplomat added.
recalled the Chinese consulate in French Polynesia was established in 2007.
since then we have been maintaining a good dialogue with the local government
and the French High Commission. We exchange a lot", he said.