Government of the Federated States of Micronesia

FSM-China dedicates multi-purpose gym

PALIKIR, Pohnpei (FSM Information Service): March 22, 2002 - On March 7, the long awaited Multi-Purpose Gymnasium was officially opened and dedicated in an on-site turn-over ceremony between the Governments of the People's Republic of China and the Federated States of Micronesia.

Dedicated as the FSM-China Friendship Sports Center, the multi-purpose gym promises potentials of more than just an athletic facility. The 24,208 sq ft structure can seat more than 1,300 spectators and with the digitally enhanced control room, the facilities can host large-scale conferences or workshops.

Launched shortly after the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1989, the China-FSM Friendship Sports Center project is one of China's bilateral assistances to the FSM. As a joint venture, the China Ninbo International Cooperation Company with technical specifications and inputs from FSM's Department of Transportation Communication and Infrastructure designed the structure.

With the groundbreaking ceremony on November 26 1999, the construction of the gym was set in motion. As agreed, a Chinese construction company, the China Guangzhou International Economic And Technical Cooperation Company executed the project.

Totaling a little over US$ 5 million, on March 07 2002, the completed project hosted its first crowd to witness its dedication and turn-over from the Government of China to the Government of the FSM.

President Leo A. Falcam and Ambassador Xu Jun of the People's Republic of China, who is also the Dean of Diplomatic Corps, exchanged the dedication formalities followed by a conferral of responsibility from the national government to the College of Micronesia - FSM.

The China-FSM Friendship Sports Center according to Ambassador Xu, is a cooperative project approved by both Governments who have since its inception, attached great importance to its successful completion.

Ambassador Xu said the completed gym in addition to embodying the friendship between the two nations, also "marks the constant growth of economic and technical cooperation between China and FSM.

"The center will make significant contribution to the overall future development of the FSM in political, social, cultural, educational and sports fields." The Ambassador said the gym can also facilitate exchange and cooperation between FSM and other countries.

Ambassador Xu expressed the projects significance for his Government, "the Chinese government cherishes the existing close relations with FSM and is committed to expanding our mutual friendship and cooperation. The completion of this Center will add a new page to the annals of history of our close bilateral relations."

"The gym will stand rock-firm shining forever as a token of friendship between our two peoples."

President Falcam remarked on the architectural and engineering feat evidenced by the project. He thanked the Chinese Government for the "hard and painstaking work done by its citizens to make [the] project a reality."

Acknowledging the collaborative national effort contributed by COM-FSM, Pohnpei State Government and the National Government, the President said, "the successful construction of this multi-purpose facility is a tribute to the joint effort manifested by all involved, from China and the FSM."

The President said the FSM-China Friendship Sports Center demonstrates in a "concrete tangible way, the strong bilateral relations" between the two nations and reaffirmed FSM's commitment and support of the relationship.

President Falcam conferred the responsibility of the operations and maintenance of the FSM-China Sports Center to the COM Board of Regents Chairman, Podis Pedrus. The President challenged the Institution to take full advantage of the potentials and capabilities offered by the facility, "it is a multi-purpose facility which can be used for the hosting of national, regional and international conferences in order to have maximum sustainable use of the facility, we must be wise and creative ..."

This summer, the gym will play an important role in Pohnpei State's efforts in hosting the Micronesia games in July.

In attendance at the ceremony was a listing of dignitaries that included, Speaker Jack Fritz of the FSM Congress and several other members; President's Cabinet; the state Leaderships, the Lieutenant Governors and members of the state Legislative Branches; Officials from all three government: national, state and municipal; COM Board of Regents and Administration; and a packed seating of students and general public.

The hand-over ceremony inside continued outside with coconut tree planting by President Falcam and Ambassador Jun to mark the occasion.

For further information on this release, please contact:

FSM Office of the President
Public Information: Press, Radio, Video
P.O Box 34
Palikir Station, Pohnpei, FM 96941
Tel.: (691) 320-2548/2092
Fax.: (691) 320-4356