Thursday is a very special day for both Fiji and China as the two China-aided bridges in the Fijian capital city of Suva were open to traffic following the hard work by hundreds of workers from both countries.
The Stinson Parade Bridge in downtown Suva and the Vatuwaqa Bridge in the eastern part of the city are aid projects funded by China and constructed by China Railway 14th Bureau Group Co., Ltd (CRCC14).
Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama, who led a group of cabinet ministers, Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Fiji Gu Yu and representatives from the CRCC14 attended on Thursday a grand ceremony to celebrate the opening of the bridges.
Bainimarama praised China for its support to Fiji, including the two new bridges that he said would ease the traffic congestion, make Fijians' life easier and better, and serve the Fijian economy.
"Today is a very special day, as we open two major bridges in the greater Suva area that have been completely re-imagined and re-engineered to serve a modern, growing, ambitious nation," he said.
"I'd like to thank the government of China for agreeing to partner with my government in funding and constructing the upgrade of both of these new bridges," he said.
The prime minister stressed that both bridges, along with the accompanying drainage, footpaths and traffic safety facilities, were built to international standards. Both the bridges meet the high standard of 50 tonnes gross weight capacity and 14 ton axle loading. The pile foundation of the bridges penetrated nearly 50 meters into the seabed rock.
For his part, Gu Yu extended his warmest congratulations to the completion of the new bridges.
He said the Chinese government and people are always standing firmly together with developing countries including Fiji, committed to offering true assistance and sincere support to them without any political conditions, and are devoted to promoting the construction of a new type of international relations of equality, mutual-respect and win-win cooperation.
Gu sees the new bridges as "bridges of brotherhood" that showcase the friendship between the Fijians and Chinese people.
He noted that during the construction, all the 600 Fijian workers and 40 Chinese workers worked together and learned from each other, saying that Fijian workers not only learned construction skills from Chinese workers, but also learned the Chinese language to communicate with their Chinese colleagues.
The new bridges are also "bridges of development" which showcase the cooperation between the two sides, he said, adding that they are also "bridges of future" which reflect the cooperation between China and Fiji in addressing climate change and in building a community of shared future for mankind.
Su Weihong, executive director of CRCC14 International Engineering company, and project director Zhang Zihui were both very happy to see the completion of the two bridges as scheduled.
"We are very happy to build the bridges for Fiji which has profound traditional friendship with our country. As developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region, our two countries share similar developing tasks and extensive common interests," they said.
"As Chinese company, we are proud of doing something like building the bridges to help promote the friendship between the two peoples and make contributions to the Belt and Road initiative."
Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama (1st L) and Charge d'Affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Fiji Gu Yu (1st R) attend the opening ceremony of the China-aided projects for Stinson Parade Bridge and Vatuwaqa Bridge, in Suva, Fiji, on Jan. 11, 2018. Two China-aided bridges in the Fijian capital city were open to traffic Thursday following the hard work by hundreds of workers from both countries.