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PNG, Tonga celebrate China ties 25/11/2008

Papua New Guinea prime minister, Sir Michael Somare, has acknowledged China's role in the development of the South Pacific after talks with China's President Hu Jintao.

Chinese state-run Xinhua news agency reports the two leaders met on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Peru over the weekend.

Sir Michael says PNG welcomes Chinese investment and cooperation in energy and resources, and its economic and technological support to South Pacific countries is very important for the region's development.

President Hu says China will continue to work with PNG, to strengthen bilateral ties and cooperation in multilateral affairs.

Meanwhile, China has promised to donate an aircraft to Tonga's defence services.

Matangi Tonga reports that China's ambassador to Tonga, Fan Guijin, made the announcement during a ceremony to hand-over eight trucks for the defence services.

The Tongan minister of defence, Tu'a Taumopeau, says the trucks, worth half a million US dollars, will be used in the service's natural disaster response.

Produced by Radio Australia and Australia Network

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