The 2018 Friendship Forum opened in Haikou, capital of South China's Hainan province, on Friday, attracting more than 100 representatives of friendship organizations of 19 countries including China, Australia, Canada, Bahamas, Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, New Zealand, the United States and Vanuatu.
The Friendship Forum for the American and Oceania Region was initiated in 2004 by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries to strengthen exchanges between friendly organizations of countries in the American and Oceania region and to promote better activities for friendship with China.
"We in Tonga have found China an excellent friend and partner, who understands our needs, gives help or advice when asked, and never interferes in our internal affairs. China has shown over the past two decades that they truly believe in the saying that it is more helpful to teach people how to fish than to give them fish," said Pilolevu Tuita, princess of the Kingdom of Tonga, patron of the Pacific China Friendship Association and president of Tonga China Friendship Association, in a speech at the forum.
Diana Greer, president of the US-China People's Friendship Association, said at the opening ceremony that the United States and China are interdependent in many aspects -- trade of agricultural products, automobiles, telecommunication equipment, education and even the music market. "China is not a threat to the United States," said Greer, adding she is full of confidence in the bilateral relations of the two countries.
At the opening ceremony, Fu Caixiang, vice-governor of Hainan, said the tropical province is ready to embrace the world and she invites representatives of the foreign countries to join the development of the China (Hainan) Free Trade Pilot Zone, jointly promote practical bilateral trade exchanges and establish island economy cooperation and exchange platforms for tourism, education, agriculture and culture.
The four-day event focused on the theme of "Building Maritime Silk-road and Promoting Common Development". The forum has put forward many valuable people-to-people diplomacy programs and made positive contributions to friendly exchanges between China and the American and Oceania region.