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PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea - The International Convention Center where the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation senior officials" meeting was held on Monday and Tuesday is a building with a distinctive Papua New Guinean style.
The pillars bear carvings of PNG traditional patterns, while the cavernous meeting room at the center is adorned with a tribal totem. But taking a closer look on the exterior wall, one can find a red sign reading: China aid.
According to the local Post-Courier newspaper, China spent about $21.2 million to build the center, which was opened in 2016. The Chinese government later gave some $6.1 million to the PNG for the center"s maintenance.
"I quite like this center," said Paul Kasokason, the center"s meeting rooms coordinator. "It is quite comfortable, with modern facilities including remote functioning equipment to control light and projection."
"China helped us a lot in the modernization of Port Moresby," he said.
Apart from the convention center, China also funded a six-lane highway in Port Moresby linking the convention center and the nearby National Parliament, among other projects.
Amanda Tau runs a handicraft booth at the APEC 2018 International Media Center. Three of her cousins are in China, working or studying. She hopes to visit China and asked Xinhua reporters if she could browse photos to see China"s scenery.
"China gave us a lot of aid," she said. "I can see Chinese people running businesses everywhere."
The 28-year-old owner of Pacificana said Chinese businessmen gave her some good advice. "The Chinese are among the most successful businessmen," she said. "They work together and help each other."
Sharon Dua also expressed her gratitude for Chinese aid.
The 23-year-old student, a volunteer at the media center, approached Xinhua reporters to ask if she could help them hail a shuttle bus.
"I am thankful to China," she said. "A road here was built by the Chinese government."
Hotel employee Davara Uru has great interest in the Chinese culture. To prepare for the APEC meeting, she learned not only some simple Chinese expressions, but also a bit about Chinese culture and etiquette.
"China has a deep culture which has never faded, and people are proud of that," she said.
Wu Jingru came to Port Moresby five years ago, and she has seen the number of Chinese people increasing. "There are more shops now," said the 19-year-old.
With more interaction with the Chinese, Papua New Guineans are increasingly interested in China.
Kasokason plans to travel to China after the APEC meeting. "I will first go to Beijing," he said. "It will be good if our countries maintain this relationship."
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