The groundbreaking ceremony for the China-Samoa Friendship Park and Arts and Culture Centre took place at the Ministry of Education, Sports and Culture compound, Leifiifi on Friday.
Present to witness this milestone for Samoa was Prime Minister Tuilaepa Sa’ilele Malielegaoi, the Secretary of the Communist Party of China’s Huizhou Municipal Committee, Chen Yiwei, and China’s Ambassador to Samoa, Wang Xuefeng.
Prime Minister Tuilaepa said the project is funded by the city of Huizhou, Guangdong Province.
“The city of Huizhou and the Government of Samoa established formal relations in 2015 marked by the inception of the two projects,” he said.
“The site of the arts and cultural centre covers a land area of 9,224 square meters and a total floor area of 4,375 square meters. We will now have a centre which will house the national treasures of our culture and heritage, a venue for performing arts and orchestra, an art shop, exhibition space for and a restaurant."
“The friendship park located at the Eleele-Fou covers a land area of 41,000 square meters that will provide an outdoor performance space, open sports field, an ecological garden, dining area and a playground for children."
“The friendship park complements the Waterfront Development Project undertaken by the Government of Samoa, New Zealand and other partners. We look forward to the ‘new face’ for Apia in the coming months.”
Tuilaepa expressed his gratitude to the Chinese Government, through the help of Huizhou City.
“We appreciate the significant contribution by Huizhou by making these two projects a reality. We take this opportunity to acknowledge with appreciation other ways through which Huizhou City is assisting, namely through the e-teaching platform equipment to the education sector, the computer laboratory for Samoa College, Guangdong (Huizhou) Scholarship Fund for secondary students around the country and the medical equipment and supplies provided for the hospitals in Samoa."
“The provision of aid through provincial instructions and frameworks is noted but remains premised on a government to government-partnership basis."
“I also take this opportunity to thank the Government of the People’s Republic of China for its significant assistance to Samoa in the 42 years since Samoa and China established diplomatic relations.”
Tuilaepa explained: “We have seen improvements in our infrastructural landscape, increased opportunities or capacity building both short and long term, the deployment of technical experts areas which China has the comparative advantage and in the construction and maintenance of Samoa’s sports facility."
“I take the opportunity to thank your Excellency Ambassador and staff for the hard work and continuous efforts in promoting the friendship and good relations between Samoa and China.”
The Prime Minister also highlighted his confidence with the support of the Government of China for the Pacific Games in 2019.
“With the assistance of the Chinese Government, Samoa continues to boast high quality sporting facilities, which have no doubt contributed to Samoa’s recent successful bid to host the upcoming Pacific Games in 2019."
“We also look forward to working closely with China on upgrading works for the sports facilities to ensure that these will be restored and further improved in time for the Games in July next year."
“Samoa’s engagement with China since 1975 remains underpinned by the One China Policy which Samoa has consistently supported.”