Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean (second from left), greets Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Chao. Looking on are delegates from the Caribbean attending the meeting.

China’s contribution commended


Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Maxine McClean, has expressed appreciation to China for the support it continues to give to the Caribbean.
According to McClean, China is a major source of development assistance for Caribbean countries, with such funding being used in various economic sectors including tourism, education and agriculture. She was speaking during the opening ceremony of the Sixth Round of Consultations between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Countries that have Diplomatic Relations with China and Minister of Foreign Affairs of China, at the Hilton Barbados yesterday morning. 
The consultation brought together representatives of the People’s Republic of China and eight Caribbean countries, namely Trinidad and Tobago, Suriname, Jamaica, The Bahamas, Guyana, Grenada, Antigua and Barbuda, and Barbados.
“China’s support for the development efforts in the region has not been restricted to bricks and mortar investments alone. Indeed, the gains derived from people-to-people contacts have been immeasurable and have helped to strengthen the bonds of friendship between our people,” she said.
Her comments came as she spoke of the role of the consultations, which she noted not only allow them to conduct a review of the relations between China and the Caribbean, but to discuss new initiatives which can be of benefit to all of them.
“Our attendance here today attests to our commitment to the Caribbean-China partnership and to our unwavering support for the One China policy. The opportunities for progress which this forum presents, must be used as the basis for creating an environment for mutual prosperity, co-operation and development,” Senator McClean added.
With that in mind, noting the challenge the economies of the region face as a result of debt as well as issues of de-risking and correspondent banking, the Foreign Affairs Minister said the consultations provide an opportunity for the region to raise those concerns and explore possibilities for co-oper-ation.
Moreover, pointing out that the Caribbean and China also share concern about climate change, she said climate change adaptation and mitigation is a priority issue for consideration in the region’s co-operation with China.
“Our engagement also facilitates the exchange of views between our countries on a number of political issues of mutual interest and very current on the international agenda. These include our shared desire to bring about change within the United Nations system towards a more equitable system of governance and representation for all. As vulnerable, small developing states, the lives of our citizens are directly and often severely impacted by external factors beyond our control. We, therefore, must ensure that our voices are heard on the international stage on matters which affect us. Our vulnerabilities and concerns must be taken into consideration in any proposals for reform,” she added. (JRT)

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