Feature: Infrastructure projects set stage for diplomatic ties between China, Solomon Islands

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-12 17:35:49|Editor: Yurou
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Local resident Mark Poghula speaks during an interview with Xinhua in Honiara, Solomon Islands, Oct. 10, 2019.  (Photo by Zhu Hongye/Xinhua)

HONIARA, Solomon Islands, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- While the diplomatic ties between China and the Solomon Islands were established last month, the foundation for friendship has been built over many years through several infrastructure projects.

Among many Chinese engineering enterprises, China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) was the first to do business in the South Pacific nation back in 2015.

Focusing on delivering construction projects, the CHEC has worked with the Solomon Islands' government and the Asian Development Bank to build vital infrastructures for communities in need.

"The projects actually come from the local government and is often funded by the Asian Development Bank," Yuan Huiming, regional project manager of the CHEC, told Xinhua on Thursday.

"As we have worked so well with the local community for the past number of years and maintained such strong relationships, I think the people and the government of the Solomon Islands know they can trust us and they understand that we are here for the right reasons," Yuan said.

The CHEC has undertaken a number of projects in the Solomon Islands, one of which was building a 96-meter-long concrete bridge in the agricultural region of East Guadalcanal in 2018, which took the team six months.

Local resident Mark Poghula told Xinhua they could not cross the torrential Mbalasuna River as the old low-lying bridge often was overwhelmed by the river.

Poghula said they "were very happy" when hearing the CHEC would build a bridge here, and believed it would "make big changes."

"It has helped all the farmers within the plain area transport their produce," Poghula said.

Apart from helping local communities connect with each other, China's development projects like the Mbokokimbo Bridge project and the Mberanda-Aola Road project have also created lots of jobs for local people.

Yuan said 35 percent of their workforce are local people. "We also look to provide training, so workers not only have a job, but also have skills for life."

Local employee CHEC Damris Saega joined the East Guadalcanal Bridge project. "I work as a liaison officer ... If there is a new project, it is my job to go into the community and inform them about the development. I need to let them know before we can step in."

"I enjoy working with a Chinese company," Saega said. "I do not have any problems. The community is happy about these kinds of projects, because it is a big benefit to transport their goods and products from the farm."

After China and the Solomon Islands forged diplomatic ties on Sept. 21, Yuan said he is certain that good will between both countries will continue into the future.

"I believe we can contribute a lot to the Solomon Islands," he said. "The Solomon Islands are looking to modernize with better infrastructure, and our company is always very happy to help whenever we can."

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