2 Aug 2006

Chinese foreign minister visits Samoa

3:36 pm on 2 August 2006

Samoa's Ministry of Health is to purchase a CAT scanner with funds donated by the Chinese government.

The money is part of a grant of just over one million US dollars which was signed in Apia yesterday between the Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister, Li Zhaoxing, and Samoa's prime minister, Tuila'epa Sa'ilele Malielegaoi.

It's the first CAT scanner in the country and it will be used to identify tumors and cancer of the brain and abdomen.

The financial assistance from China will also provide technical support for the machine which will be based at the country's National Hospital in Moto'otua.

Samoa and China have enjoyed a very close relationship for the past 31 years which was celebrated last year during Prime Minister Tuila'epa's official visit to China.

Meanwhile, the Chinese Foreign minister, arrives in Tonga this afternoon.

The prime minister, Dr Feleti Sevele, will host a reception for Mr Li at the former residence of the British High Commissioner to Tonga.

An attache at the Chinese embassy in Nuku'alofa, Zhang Denghua, says it's a significant visit.

"This is the first time for our foreign minister to visit Tonga, just to promote the friendly bilateral relations between our two countries."

Mr Zhang says Mr Li will travel on to Fiji from Tonga.