Visit will enhance ties with Caribbean
Updated: 2013-06-02 00:48
By Zhang Yunbi (China Daily)
President Xi will meet with leaders from nine countries in the region
President Xi Jinping's visit to Trinidad and Tobago will be a "landmark" for both the relationship between the two nations as well as China's ties with a host of Caribbean countries, a senior diplomat said.
Huang Xingyuan, Chinese ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
"The visit will be a milestone in our bilateral ties and a major diplomatic event signifying China's commitment to developing cooperative relations with Caribbean countries," Huang Xingyuan, Chinese ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, told China Daily in a written interview.
Xi arrived in Port of Spain on Friday, local time, and he will leave Trinidad and Tobago on Sunday to go to Costa Rica and later Mexico. He is the first Chinese president to visit Trinidad and Tobago and the Caribbean region since the two countries established diplomatic relations 39 years ago.
Chinese people first arrived in Trinidad and Tobago as early as 207 years ago. They have integrated with the nation's other races and lived harmoniously for over 200 years.
Many people in Trinidad and Tobago are of Chinese descent, according to Ambassador Huang.
"Chinese culture has become an integral part of the multicultural society of Trinidad and Tobago," he said.
Since 1974, China has had stable relations with Trinidad and Tobago and the two countries have maintained extensive exchanges and cooperation in various areas, such as politics, economy and culture, Huang said.
In 2005, China established "a mutually beneficial relationship of friendly cooperation" with Trinidad and Tobago.
The cooperation in public and private sectors has expanded in recent years, and bilateral trade surpassed $627 million in 2011.
"Facing strategic opportunities for our two nations' revitalization, both have the desire, need and motivation to deepen our relations and push forward our pragmatic cooperation to a higher level," Huang said.
While in Trinidad and Tobago, Xi plans to meet with President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, President of the Senate Timothy Hamel-Smith and Speaker of the House of Representatives Wade Mark.
Xi's visit will effectively enhance political trust, "greatly cultivate new growth points" of cooperation and bring bilateral ties into "a new stage of development", Huang said.
During the visit, Xi is expected to meet with leaders from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname and Jamaica, all of which have diplomatic ties with China.
Xi's trip will not only further strengthen the widespread cooperation among the Caribbean region countries that have established diplomatic relations with China, but will also inspire Caribbean and other Latin American countries to develop cooperation with China, the ambassador said.
Trade volume between China and Latin America and Caribbean region reached $261.2 billion in 2012, with an annual growth rate of 8.7 percent.
"We believe that Trinidad and Tobago will play a more important role regionally and internationally when it assumes the role of chair of the Caribbean Community in July," Huang said.