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SUVA， Sept. 23 (Xinhua) -- China's friendship was unwavering during Fiji's ""turbulent periods"" and its support helped Fijians lay the foundation for the new Fiji that exists today， Fijian acting Prime Minister Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum said Friday.
Sayed-Khaiyum， who is also Fiji's attorney-general and minister for economy， public enterprises， civil service and communications， made the comments while attending a function held by the Chinese Embassy celebrating China's upcoming National Day on Oct. 1.
The occasion is significant for the government and people of Fiji due to the longstanding friendship between the two countries for the past 41 years， Sayed-Khaiyum said.
""What makes that friendship so important is that it has been consistent. During turbulent periods in our history， China's friendship was unwavering. And the support that was provided to Fiji by China helped us lay the foundation for the new Fiji that exists today，"" the acting prime minister underscored.
Fiji's current government was elected in 2014. Prior to the general election held in that year， the Pacific island nation saw three coups， the latest one occurring in 2006， after which a number of western countries slapped a series of sanctions against Fiji.
""We have put those years behind us， and we will never forget China's role in helping us preserve through， what were often， difficult times. Today， on the back of seven straight years of economic growth， it is clear that China's faith in Fiji was well-placed. So tonight， let's celebrate this milestone in China's history and the strong， lasting alliance that exists between our nations，"" Sayed-Khaiyum said.
China has emerged as an advanced， dynamic economic power with passionate， energetic and driven population， he said， adding that Fiji looks to China for leadership on the pressing challenges of our time in the global community.
""We wish to congratulate the government of the People's Republic of China for its commitment in ratifying the Paris agreement ... Thank you for your commitment in helping combat the ravages of climate change by supporting this agreement，"" Sayed-Khaiyum said， adding that he is confident that the two nations can find ways to continually improve and strengthen the partnership and deepen the ties.
Sayed-Khaiyum's comments were echoed by Zhang Ping， Chinese ambassador to Fiji who said the two nations share ""profound traditional friendship"" and are ""not only good friends through thick and thin， but also good partners of win-win cooperation.""
""Chinese people appreciate Fijian people's great achievements under the leadership of Hon. Prime Minister (Voreqe) Bainimarama， feel thrilled when Fiji Rugby sevens team brought back home the first ever Olympic medal in history and share the same happiness and pride when the first Fijian diplomat won the presidency of the 71st General Assembly of the United Nations， which enables Fiji to play a unique role on the world stage，"" Zhang said.
After Fiji was hit by Tropical Cyclone Winston in February this year， the ambassador said， the Chinese government took the lead in providing emergency humanitarian cash assistance and chartered eight cargo planes to fly over half of the Pacific to deliver disaster relief materials to the people in need， which once again reflected the true friendship between the two peoples.
""The Chinese government is committed to deepening the bilateral strategic partnership featuring mutual respect and common development. We stand ready to work with our Fijian friends to enhance mutual political trust， promote cooperation of mutual benefits， advance people-to-people exchanges and maintain close coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs so as to add more content to the strategic partnership，"" the Chinese ambassador underscored.
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