26 May 2005

China invites French Polynesian president

1:24 pm on 26 May 2005

China has invited the French Polynesian president, Oscar Temaru, to visit Beijing and the southern city of Guangdong later this year.

The invitation was made by Gu Zhaoxi, who is the vice-president of China's national tourism authority, during his visit to Tahiti.

Mr Temaru's office says the visit is planned for September or October.

Mr Gu has been in French Polynesia as the territory seeks to become a Chinese approved tourist destination in a bid to increase visitor numbers which have been stagnant in recent years.

Several other regional countries, including Fiji and Vanuatu, have attained the approval.

Mr Gu has said consideration should be given to set up a direct air link between China and Papeete.