After a couple of years of delays due to the pandemic, the China Aid-Niue Road Upgrade Project was launched today with the milestone pre-start ceremony event.
The event officially marks the start of the project with the attendance of Ambassador Wang Xiaolong and his delegation joining Premier Dalton Tagelagi and Cabinet Ministers on stage to unveil the plaque.
In the audience were the first few team members from the contractor China Railway Group and leaders from the Niue government departments and the Ministry of Infrastructure.
Minister of Infrastructure Crossley Tatui in his address paid tribute to the former Premier the late Sir Toke Talagi and his Cabinet. “I pay tribute Former premier and former cabinet who initiated and carried out the negations with the government of the People’s Republic of China”.
Minister Tatui thanked the PRC for the project and the offer of further discussions should Niue require additional infrastructure support.
“We look forward to continuing the friendship, discussions and any future opportunities we may have to do with infrastructure developments.
To the public servants gathered at the event he said “The success of the project lies precisely on our shoulders, on our commitment to ensure that we stand up to the objectives we have signed up with our friends from China”.
Ambassador Wang acknowledged the important milestone of 15 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries saying that ‘Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, China and Niue has respected and supported each other, culminating in the upgrade of the relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership and the signing of an agreement of cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative.
“On the part of China, we have followed in developing our relations with Niue, the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests and the principle of sincerity, real results, and good faith. Trying our best within our capacity to meet Niue’s needs”
We’re glad and proud that our cooperation has made some small contributions to the economic and social development and above all the improvement of people’s well-being in Niue”.
The ceremony was brief but all eyes and ears were on Premier Dalton Tagelagi during his speech because he delivered half of it in Mandarin, his diction and pronunciation were validated with Ambassador Wang regularly acknowledging, nodding, and clasping his hands during the Premier’s address.
Premier Tagelagi thanked the PRC through the Ambassador and his delegation for the 15 years of friendship between the two countries and looking ahead to a continued friendship.
Ambassador Wang Xiaolong extended ‘on behalf of the Chinese government congratulations to the government and people of Niue, the China First Railway Group, Project management and Coordination Unit of Niue, and my heartfelt appreciation to the counterpart organisations of both sides, for their efforts to make this event happen”.
The pre-start ceremony concluded with the cutting of the kapihi garland held together by the workers from the Office of the Project Management Unit of the Niue government and the first of the China First Railway Group to land on the island last week.
The official part of the pre-start ceremony was completed with Premier Dalton Tagelagi and Ambassador Wang Xiaolong both cutting the kapihi with the traditional ‘ka toua’ in front of the Ekalesia Millennium Hall.
A celebration of the 15th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Niue and China will be held on Thursday this week, before the Ambassador and his delegation depart the island.