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FSM, China sign contract to construct a new vessel for Yap

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PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Services) — On Oct. 15 2020, Carlson D. Apis, secretary of the Department of Transportation, Communication & Infrastructure of the Federated States of Micronesia, received  Huang Zheng, ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, to discuss ongoing development projects, and to sign on behalf of the FSM a contract for China’s construction of the Hapilmohol-2, a replacement for the aging Hapilmohol-1, a 600-ton class cargo and passenger ship which will predominantly serve the State of Yap and other FSM-wide services as necessary.

Citizens of the FSM can expect that the ship will sail to Yap within 390 calendar days. The ship has a designed cruising range of no less than 2,500 nautical miles, and the endurance of the vessel is to be no less than 15 days. Included within the contract is an agreement that, starting from the second year after the ship’s delivery, upon the conclusion of its one-year warranty period, China will be responsible for dispatching four technicians to the FSM each year to carry out a 14-day technical inspection on the ship’s maintenance for four consecutive years.

In his remarks, Secretary Apis reiterated the FSM’s appreciation to China for their continuing support to assist the FSM in its development efforts, and praised Ambassador Huang for his dedication towards continuously strengthening the FSM-China Great Friendship. After noting again the FSM’s appreciation for recent development efforts, such as the Kahmar Bridge and secondary roads in Madolenihmw, Secretary Apis said, “This ship has been a long awaited project. As you know, we are a country of islands spread out over more than one million square kilometers, making transportation a challenge as well as a priority. So we thank you for this project…and look forward to the 13 months from now where, perhaps in November 2021, I will be there to join you in receiving the ship in Yap with the Governor and leadership of Yap. Thank you very much for your Great Friendship.”

Ambassador Huang noted his pleasure, advising that the signing ceremony of the ship’s construction contract is a demonstration of the full implementation “of the important consensus reached between Chinese President Xi Jinping and FSM President David W. Panuelo during the latter’s December 2019 visit to China to jointly pursue the Belt & Road Initiative of building a community with a shared future for humanity. “This ship will play a very important role to improve transportation for the FSM. Ships connect people, because transportation connects people, and that’s exactly the idea of the Belt & Road, to connect people.”

Ambassador Huang further, and correctly, emphasized that China’s assistance to the FSM is based exclusively upon the FSM’s requests and priorities, and that they come without any political or financial conditions attached.

“I will say that the sky is limit for our Great Friendship,” Ambassador Huang continued, “I hope that more ships will come and more roads will be built and more projects will be implemented on the principles of mutual respect and mutual benefits…. I really think that this ship will bring tangible benefits to the people of Yap, to the FSM, and to our Great Friendship based on the bedrock of One-China Policy.”

“Thank you for your kind words,” Secretary Apis replied, “You’ve summed up the relationship between our two countries and, as the Secretary in charge of transportation, I thank you for stressing the importance of transportation.”

The FSM and China have had a Great Friendship for more than 31 years. It is the intention of the FSM national government that this Great Friendship be continuously strengthened, and endure in aeternum.

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