Lin Xianjiang, Chinese ambassador to Dominica
Lin Xianjiang, Chinese ambassador to Dominica

China and Caribbean countries are good friends and good partners sharing the same ideal. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and Caribbean countries, which is of special significance. Over the past half-century, especially since President Xi Jinping's visit to Caribbean countries in 2013, the comprehensive cooperative partnership between China and Caribbean countries has kept deepening, and cooperation in various sectors has yielded fruitful outcomes, setting an exemplary model of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development between countries of different sizes.

The world is in a period of turbulence and transformation, the global economic and social development and security situations are facing complex and severe challenges, and the future of all countries is connected more than ever before. Now more than ever, China and Caribbean countries need to strengthen solidarity, overcome difficulties together, deepen cooperation and create a better future.

On April 28, 2022, in order to firmly seize the historic opportunity, further unleash the potential of cooperation and forge a higher level of partnership between the two sides, the Foreign Ministers' Meeting Among China and the Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China was held via video link. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Acting Prime Minister of Dominica Reginald Austrie co-chaired the meeting. Foreign Ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago were present at the meeting.

The Meeting reviewed the history and experiences of China-Caribbean relations, had in-depth exchanges on building a closer China-Caribbean community with a shared future and reached important consensus on deepening high-level exchanges, promoting post-pandemic economic recovery, strengthening medical cooperation, promoting people-to-people exchanges and strengthening cooperation on climate change. Caribbean countries welcome and support the Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping, and commend China as a responsible and leading player on the international arena.

China regards Caribbean countries as important strengths and equal partners of the international community, firmly supports Caribbean countries in achieving self-improvement through unity and in playing a greater role in international affairs, strives to build China-Caribbean relations into a model of a new type of international relations, and works together to build a closer China-Caribbean community with a shared future. China also made the following important commitments at the meeting:

Firstly, China will keep closer policy communication between China and Caribbean countries and is ready to hold the eighth round of consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean countries as soon as possible and arrange a special envoy for Caribbean affairs to visit Caribbean countries as early as possible.

Secondly, China will continue to provide economic and technological assistance to Caribbean countries without any political strings attached, focus on supporting key projects of interest to Caribbean countries, vigorously develop projects that benefit the people and promote practical technologies such as Juncao.

Thirdly, China will continue to provide anti-pandemic supplies and vaccines to Caribbean countries until the pandemic is finally defeated and has decided to donate anti-pandemic and medical supplies to Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with China and the CARICOM Secretariat.

Fourthly, China will try to build a pattern of diversified and interactive people-to-people exchanges, actively consider the orderly post-pandemic resumption of people-to-people exchanges and increase the number of government scholarships and personnel training to Caribbean countries.

Fifthly, China fully understands and supports the reasonable concerns of the small island countries and has decided to set up the China-Caribbean disaster prevention and mitigation fund.

Looking back, I am very pleased to see that China-Caribbean relations have achieved fruitful results.

Over the past 50 years, political mutual trust between the two sides has been strengthened as time goes by. China and Caribbean countries respect each other's national independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, understand and support each other on issues related to respective core interests and major concerns, and always advance China-Caribbean countries relations along the right track. China highly appreciates Caribbean countries' pursuit of the one-China principle, support for China's reunification and opposition to interference in China's internal affairs. China also firmly supports Caribbean countries in pursuing successful development paths suited to their national conditions.

Over the past 50 years, pragmatic cooperation between the two sides has yielded fruitful results. The two sides successfully held three sessions of the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, with a number of mutually beneficial cooperation projects being carried out. China follows the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and sincerely helps Caribbean countries develop its economy and improve people's livelihood. The two sides have jointly advanced Belt and Road cooperation, strengthen the synergy between development strategies, and continuously inject new impetus into mutually beneficial cooperation between the two sides to make it high-standard, sustainable and people-centered.

Over the past 50 years, the two sides have rendered each other support and assistance through thick and thin. Whether there is a natural disaster or COVID-19, the two sides have always been the first to help each other. Caribbean countries provided China with invaluable support when China's fight against the pandemic was at its toughest period. After the outbreak of the pandemic in the Caribbean countries, China has also shared its experience in fighting COVID-19 without reservation, and provided batches of COVID-19 vaccines and anti-pandemic supplies to each and every Caribbean country having diplomatic relations with China.

Over the past 50 years, public support between the two sides has grown more solid. The two sides have carried out various forms of cooperation in culture, sports, tourism and education, and at the sub-national level. The Caribbean Music Festival has become an important brand event in China, athletes from Caribbean countries have actively participated in the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022, and more and more Chinese tourists visit Caribbean countries for sightseeing. Sub-national exchanges are flourishing, and educational cooperation has been further deepened. Many young people from Caribbean countries have received Chinese government scholarships to study in China and become envoys of the China-Caribbean countries friendship.

Looking forward to the future, China is ready to make joint efforts with Caribbean countries to promote peace and development, draw up a blueprint for the development of China-Caribbean countries relations, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation and continue to promote friendship between the two peoples. I believe that in the next 50 years, China-Caribbean relations will be even more glorious!