Xinhua Asia Pacific news summary at 1600 GMT, March 24

KABUL — Visiting Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi met here Thursday with Mullah Abul Ghani Baradar, acting deputy prime minister of the Afghan Taliban’s caretaker government, with both sides pledging to conduct orderly and mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

During the meeting, Baradar said Afghanistan is an independent country and is willing to establish friendly relations with all countries in the world.

The Afghan Taliban’s caretaker government is a responsible government, Baradar said, adding that Afghanistan attaches great importance to China’s security concern and will take pragmatic and firm actions to ensure security across the country so as to contribute to safeguarding regional security. (China-Afghansitan-Ties)

HONG KONG — Hong Kong maintained the third place globally in the latest Global Financial Centers Index (GFCI) published by British think tank Z/Yen Group and China Development Institute in Shenzhen on Thursday.

The report reaffirms Hong Kong’s status and strengths as a leading global financial center. Hong Kong has remained among the top in various areas of competitiveness, including business environment, human capital, and infrastructure, said a spokesperson for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR) government. (Hong Kong-GFCI-Third Place)

SUVA — Fiji announced on Thursday night that the three-night-stay requirement upon entry into the country is being removed and fully vaccinated visitors can come to the island nation from next month.

According to Fiji Broadcasting Corporation (FBC), Fiji’s Minister for Economy Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum announced in parliament on Thursday that following the establishment of private testing facilities nationwide, the three-night-stay requirement upon entry into Fiji is being removed. (Fiji-Requirement-Removal)

CANBERRA — China has granted Australian geoscientist Sue O’Reilly the International Science and Technology Cooperation Award on Thursday.

At the presentation ceremony hosted at the Chinese Embassy in Australia, O’Reilly, Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and Professor of the Macquarie University, received the award from Chinese Ambassador Xiao Qian.

“Professor O’Reilly epitomizes the two-way endeavors to promote China-Australia exchanges and cooperation in science and technology,” Xiao said in his address. “What she represents is a broad-mindedness to pursue ideals across national borders, and deep feelings and friendship for China.” (China-Australian Geoscientist-Award)

SYDNEY — The second batch of anti-epidemic supplies provided by China were shipped to Kiribati on Thursday.

The supplies, including masks, personal protective equipment (PPE), hand sanitizers and tents, came after the first batch of materials that arrived in the south Pacific island country in late February this year.

A ceremony was held in the capital city of Tarawa on Thursday to mark the handing over of the supplies to the Kiribati government. (China-Kiribati–Supplies)

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