Following a round of talks held Monday, May 10, 2010 The People’s Republic of China and the Caribbean have agreed to strengthen consultation and cooperation on major issues such as the global financial and economic crisis, climate change and to uphold the rights and interests of developing countries.
This was the Fourth Round of Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Countries having diplomatic relations with China. His Excellency Li Jinzhang, Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, and the Hon. T. Brent Symonette, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, co-chaired the Consultations. The Deputy Prime Minister said, *”These consultations, borne out of the desire to develop friendship and comprehensive cooperation, provide us with an ideal opportunity to engage in open and frank dialogue on issues of importance and facilitate the strengthening of the relationship between China and the Caribbean*.”
*”Since its inception, our consultation mechanism has indeed played a positive role in promoting the communication and cooperation and the growth of relations between our two sides,”* added Vice Minister Li.
*”The Caribbean sees this mechanism as very important in engaging China on lots of issues. There is climate change; there’s economic development; there’s technical cooperation and there’s also matters of international importance,”* said Director General of Foreign Affairs Joshua Sears.
And, earlier, writing for China Daily, Prime Minister Bruce Golding of Jamaica pointed out, *“Cooperation between the Caribbean and China will play an important role in the efforts to achieve renewed growth and development in the Caribbean region. Already, significant cooperation programs in infrastructure development, human resources development and trade in goods and services have made the Caribbean/ China relationship one of the most important partnerships for many Caribbean countries.”*
China is one of the 21 countries with which The Bahamas has a Tax Information Exchange Agreement (TIEA), and the Republic already is involved with several significant investments in The Bahamas.
Deputy Prime Minister Symonette spoke to the significance of the China, Latin America and Caribbean relationship, noting that it is reflected in [China’s Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean](http://www.gov.cn/english/official/2008-11/05/content_1140347.htm), which speaks to developing friendship, cooperation and economic development. Additionally, *“”China’s membership in the Caribbean Development Bank, and her recent membership in the Inter-American Development Bank and other initiatives such as China/Caribbean Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum, demonstrate China’s commitment to establishing and maintaining a long-term relationship with the Caribbean.”*
At the end of the one-day Summit, a Joint Communiqué was issued, outlining the areas of interests to both parties and the way forward in accomplishing them.
##Highlights of the Joint Communiqué##
* The two sides reviewed with satisfaction the progress made in the relationship between China and the Caribbean Countries since the Third Round of Consultations in 2006 and agreed to make joint efforts to deepen their friendship and cooperation. They also exchanged views on international and regional issues of mutual interest.
* The two sides spoke positively of the important role of the Consultations in promoting their exchanges and cooperation in political, economic, agricultural, educational, cultural and other areas. They also agreed to strengthen political dialogue, enhance mutual understanding and trust, and promote cooperation to achieve greater progress in bilateral relations on the basis of sovereign equality and mutual respect and benefit.
* The Caribbean Side welcomed the first ever formulation and issuance of China’s Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean by the Chinese government in 2008, and expressed appreciation for China’s valuable program directed toward the economic and social development of the Caribbean. The Chinese Side agreed to continue to provide assistance to the best of its ability to the Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with China to contribute to their social and economic development.
* The two sides agreed to strengthen economic and trade cooperation between China and the Caribbean and encourage their companies to conduct business cooperation in various forms toward this end. Both Sides affirmed their commitment to ensure the success of the Third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum to be held in Trinidad and Tobago later this year.
* The two sides will continue to strengthen practical cooperation in culture, education, tourism and other fields, encourage and support exchange of visits by artistes and troupes, promote cooperation in human resource development, and promote further media exchanges. The Caribbean side welcomed the establishment of the Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms by the Chinese Side in the Caribbean. The Chinese side will continue to provide and gradually increase scholarships to the Caribbean Countries. The Caribbean governments will encourage their students to consider pursuing studies in China. The Chinese side expressed its readiness to send young volunteers to the Caribbean countries according to their needs.
* The Chinese side expressed appreciation to the Caribbean Side for its support for and active involvement in the Expo 2010 Shanghai China. The Caribbean side commended the Chinese side for facilitating the joint participation of the Caribbean Countries and expressed its pleasure in contributing to the success of the Expo.
* The two sides agreed to strengthen consultation and cooperation in major issues on the international agenda such as the global financial and economic crisis and climate change, jointly uphold the rights and interests of developing countries, and promote the building of a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity.
* The Caribbean Countries attending the Consultations reiterated their commitment to the One China policy and support for the peaceful development of cross-Strait relations and the course of China’s peaceful reunification. The Chinese side expressed appreciation for the consistent and principled position of the Caribbean side and reaffirmed its support for the efforts of the Caribbean countries to achieve regional integration and promote development and progress.
* The participants expressed appreciation to the Government of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas for its arrangements in hosting the consultations.
The next China-Caribbean consultation is scheduled for 2012 in China.