Senate President Hokkons Baules and Speaker Sabino Anastacio were very vocal about their support for China amid the criticisms that the Chinese government has received around the world following their reported national policy that classified Palau as an illegal tourist destination.

China has received international backlash after report of Sea Passion Group, the company that operates Palau Pacific Airways, announced the closure of its airline due to declining numbers of Chinese tourists that are visiting Palau as a result of the reported Chinese government policy that bans tours to Palau due to the island country’s link with Taiwan. China considers Taiwan as a breakaway province awaiting reunification with the mainland. Taiwan, however, considers itself as an independent country.

During the July 27 groundbreaking ceremony of the Wyndham Global Resort, a resort deemed to be the largest resort in Palau in 2020 that is backed by Chinese investors, Baules and Anastacio were both expressive about being friendly with China.

Senate President Baules, in his speech during the groundbreaking ceremony, had thanked all guests from China, saying that they had made the day beautiful and that their investments show that Palau will shine with their country for the years to come.

“I think it’s about time that we focus our interests and views towards the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for more development and infrastructure that I feel that some other countries may be short to do but the People’s Republic of China will be committed to help us through tourism and many more infrastructure[sic],” Baules said.

Baules also said that they are helping Palau Visitors Authority (PVA) promote Palau in mainland China. He further urged Palauans to “be friends” with China “so that they can accommodate and accept PVA when they have trips to promote Palau in Mainland China.

Baules even introduced Chinese Counsellor Li Cuiying from the Embassy of China in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM), who was one of the special guests during the event.

Meanwhile, Speaker Anastacio, in his speech during the ceremony, also said that while debates are going on, they believed that the resort project will bring in more tourists from China.

Anastacio also said that the hotel will also improve the road in Aimeliik and will work with the state’s governor to improve tourist sites.

Anastacio even asked Chinese Counsellor Li to help bring in more investments to Palau. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)