SUVA, March 20 (Xinhua) -- Fiji highly appreciates the work that has been done by a group of Chinese experts to train the Fijian naval personnel to operate the China-aided hydrographic survey vessel which was handed over to the Fijian Navy last December.
Speaking at a grand farewell ceremony held on Wednesday in a Fijian naval base in Suva, capital of the island nation, Minister for Fiji's Defense, National Security and Foreign Affairs Inia Seruiratu highly commended the Chinese experts for their expertise and efforts.
"The four months was a short time to conduct the training, however, the Chinese expert team delivered results as expected from a highly skilled and experienced team. I commend your expertise and efforts," he said.
On behalf of the Fijian government and the people, the minister also expressed sincere appreciation to the Chinese government for the donation of the hydrographic survey vessel, and the Chinese training team who has successfully completed the four-month training of the vessel.
"It is indeed a privilege for Fiji and the Fijian Navy to have received a vessel that is modern, skilfully designed and with due respect, unrivalled in the history of the Fijian Navy," he said. "It is a testament to the growing enhanced relationship between our two nations Fiji and China which is based on mutual respect and understanding."
He hailed the donation of the vessel as "an indication of our close relationship and partnership in maritime sovereignty and security," saying that the huge contribution from China will always be remembered in the South Pacific island nation.
For his part, Chinese Ambassador to Fiji Qian Bo said that the practice of the military-to-military cooperation has demonstrated that such cooperation has been fruitful and much more should be done to carry the cooperation forward.
"China is committed to world peace and regional stability. China is quite willing to work with Fiji to take our comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights," he said.
Meanwhile, Shi Yong, chief of the Chinese training team, told Xinhua that thanks to diligence and cooperation of the Fijian Navy, the training has been going on smoothly and the Fijian Navy leadership is satisfied with the quality of the ship and the training.
"We will never forget the days and nights of the four months as we have worked together with our Fijian counterparts. We have learnt from each other and helped each other. And the most important thing is both of us have gained friendship, the friendship between us, the friendship between our two navies and the friendship between our two countries," he said.