China to gift another building to East Timor, for Diplomatic Studies Centre

13 December 2010

Dili, East Timor, 13 Dec – After the palaces of the Presidency and Foreign affairs, China plans to gift a new building to East Timor, this time to house the future Centre for Diplomatic Studies of the young Asian nation.

The agreement between the two countries was signed on 6 December, at the East Timor Foreign Affairs Ministry in Dili, and the work will be the responsibility of Chinese state company China IPPR International Engineering Corporation, according to information from the East Timor government.

The new centre “will make it possible to improve the quality of training of our diplomats,” said deputy Foreign Affairs minister, Alberto Carlos, representing the minister, Zacarias da Costa.

China gifted the new Presidential Palace to East Timor, worth around 15 million euros, as well as the Palace of the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

A new building for the Ministry of Defence is currently under construction, along with a housing complex and schools.

As well as these facilities, cooperation between the two countries extends to agriculture, with the development of a project to introduce hybrid rice.

Trade between China and East Timor has risen significantly since 2008 and this year already totals US$24 million, according to the East Timor government.

Dili recently acquires two new ships from China for its Naval Defence Forces in the amount of US$30 million.

It is also building, in partnership with a Chinese company, a power plant and national power grid, worth almost US$400 million.

This project is expected to secure an electricity supply to 80 percent of the country and support the launch of the East Timor economy, as the President of East Timor, José Ramos Horta said recently in Macau.

At the 3rd ministerial conference of the Forum for Economic and Trade Cooperation between China and the Portuguese-speaking Countries, the head of state also noted that business relations between East Timor and the People’s Republic of China had allowed for a veritable beneficial “explosion” of investment – in hotels, restaurants, construction materials, white goods, furniture and small retailers.

He also noted, “the manifestations of solidarity and support from the governments of the People’s Republic of China and the Macau Special Administrative Region (…) since 2000, by offering equipment, financing Timorese professional, welcoming young students to the University of Macau and other universities, financed through 25 scholarships from the government of China and the Macau government.”

Over the last three years East Timor has posted robust economic growth, of around 12 percent. (macauhub)

MACAUHUB FRENCH