May 02, 2006

The Kaselehlie Press

Palikir, POHNPEI: - President Joseph J. Urusemal recently returned to Pohnpei on April 28th after speaking at the Bo'ao Forum for Asia 2006 in Hainan Province and meeting Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing.

At the invitation of Mr. Fidel Ramos, former President of the Philippines and Chairman of the Bo'ao Forum, President Urusemal joined Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ratnasiri Wickremanayaka and Asia Development Bank President Haruhiko Kuroda as keynote speakers at the plenary session of the Bo'ao Forum. Mr. Bob Hawk, former Prime Minister of Australia, chaired the session.

The Bo'ao Forum for Asia is a non-governmental, non-profit international organization that holds meetings on regular basis. The forum is to promote and strengthen economic exchanges, interaction and cooperation within the region as well as between the region and other parts of the world, and to provide a high- level venue of dialogue for governments, enterprises and academics to discuss economic, social, environment and other related issues.

In his address to the Forum, President Urusemal invited the Forum participants to consider the FSM for investment given the special relationship provided by the Compact of Free Association with the US. He told the Forum "that perhaps there is a window of opportunity for the Federated States of Micronesia to participate in driving Asia's growth to the next level - that window being accessing the U.S. markets through the Federated States of Micronesia as provided under our Compact treaty referred to earlier."

After attending the Bo'ao Forum, the President also visited the historic city of Xian in Shaanxi Province. Considered as the cradle of civilization in China, Xian is the home of the world famous Terra Cotta warriors and horses, and the point of origin for the ancient "silk road" extending from China to the Mediterranean Sea.

In Beijing, President Urusemal was received by Premier Wen at the Great Hall of the People followed by a banquet in honor of President Urusemal. Both Leaders exchanged views on a variety of regional and global issues, and they both expressed satisfaction with the current relations between China and the FSM.

To further promote the friendly relations between China and the FSM, a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed and an Exchange of Letters on the occasion of the President's Visit to Beijing. The MOU was in reference to a loan request by the FSM Development Bank in the amount of US $2 million to the Export - Import Bank of China. Specific details of the loan terms and conditions will be further discussed between the two banks. The Exchange of Letters is in respect to the funding of an expert team to the FSM to conduct an investigation on the Kosrae High School Project. Deputy Secretary of Foreign Affairs Lorin S. Robert signed the MOU with Mr. Zhao Wenzhang, Vice President of the Export - Import Bank of China and the Exchange of Letters with Mr. Wei Jianguo, Vice Minister of Commerce of the People's Republic of China.

Accompanying the President on the trip were Deputy Secretary Robert, Kosrae Governor Rensley Sigrah, FSM Ambassador to China Kasio E. Mida, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Asian Affairs Carl D. Apis, Public Information Officer Elieiser Rospel, Henry Robert of Kosrae, Linda M. Hartmann of Chuuk and John Fillmed of Yap.