A 24-meter-long tug and a 34-meter-long cargo barge, aided by China, have been handed over to Kiribati to help address the transport needs of people commuting between islands of the Pacific country.
More than 100 people, including Kiribati Acting President and Vice-President Teuea Toatu, Minister for Communication and Transport Tekeeua Tarati, cabinet ministers, and religious leaders, attended the handover ceremony on Nov 19.
Chinese Ambassador to Kiribati Tang Songgen (C), Kiribati Acting President and Vice-President Teuea Toatu (R), and Minister for Communication and Transport Tekeeua Tarati attend the handover ceremony on Nov 19.
In his speech, Chinese Ambassador to Kiribati Tang Songgen said that the donation was a cooperation outcome of the two sides in jointly building the Belt and Road and implementing the Global Development Initiative, which aligns with Kiribati's "20 Year Vision" strategy.
The boats will greatly improve connectivity between the country's islands, resolve problems such as the shortage of grain, cooking oil and other daily supplies and the impeded transportation of coconuts, unblock the bottleneck of economic development and people's livelihoods, and bring tangible benefits to the Kiribati people, Tang added.
Chinese Ambassador to Kiribati Tang Songgen addresses the ceremony.
Tarati extended appreciation to the Chinese government for its support, noting that the Chinese side had actively responded to the Kiribati government's governance plan and local people's demands for development, helping his country turn its vision into tangible achievements.
Kiribati Minister for Communication and Transport Tekeeua Tarati speaks at the ceremony.
Noting that the boats will greatly improve inter-island traffic conditions and solve many livelihood problems that have plagued the Kiribati people, he thanked Zhoushan Ningxing Shipbuilding Co of China for its professional and efficient work in building the boats.
After the handover ceremony, the participants boarded one of the ships and expressed their gratitude for the Chinese assistance.
Participants board a ship after the handover ceremony.