27 Feb 2018

Tonga's King on state visit to China

11:01 am on 27 February 2018

The King of Tonga is in China for a week long state visit from tomorrow, marking 20 years since the two countries established diplomatic ties.

Tonga's King Tupou VI

Tonga's King Tupou VI Photo: RNZ Pacific/ Indira Stewart

China's foreign ministry said the visit comes at the invitation of President Xi Jin Ping.

King Tupou VI will meet with Mr Xi and Premier Li Ke Qiang.

Apart from visiting the capital, Beijing, the King will also visit the provinces of Zhejiang, Hainan and Guangdong.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Lu Kang said relations between the two countries have made great headway over the past 20 years.

At a press briefing in Beijing yesterday he said China-Tonga relations had entered a new stage of rapid development since the "strategic partnership" agreed in 2014.

That year Mr Xi paid a landmark visit to the Pacific, and met with eight Pacific island leaders in Suva, pledging continued support for developing their economies and infrastructure.

Mr Lu said China was ready to work with Tonga to enhance political trust and expand co-operation.

"The exchanges at high and other levels between the two sides are close and fruitful outcomes have been achieved in exchange and cooperation in trade and economy, agriculture and fishery, infrastructure construction, people-to-people and subnational interaction and other fields," Mr Lu said.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs