Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Wang Ke.

STRONG TIES

Barbados and China celebrate long-standing diplomatic relations

THE relationship between China and Barbados is in its prime.

So says Ambassador to Barbados from the People’s Republic of China, H.E Wang Ke, who says after four decades, the two countries have enjoyed increasingly enhanced political and economic
cooperation and thriving people-to-people exchanges.

It was back in May 1977 that China and Barbados officially established diplomatic relations, making Barbados the first English-speaking Caribbean country to forge diplomatic ties with China.

According to Ambassador Ke: “China highly appreciates the Barbadian government keeping its commitment by unswervingly adhering to the One China policy, and has always seen Barbados as a critical partner in the region.”

She was speaking at the joint reception celebrating the 40th anniversary of the establishment of Barbados-China Diplomatic relations, held on Monday night at the Hilton Barbados,where she highlighted the many strides made over the years and called for opportunities to work together to be grasped.

While pointing out the achievements of the past, the ambassador also made mention of the most recent collaborative effort – the visa waiver exemption agreement – which she said will come into effect at the beginning of June, and opens new prospects for tourism cooperation.

“I wish by our joint effort of promoting Barbados as a tourist attraction, this country will benefit from Chinese tourist boom.”

Ambassador Ke also used the opportunity to highlight the need to further enhance cooperation of culture, education and health care. She said this can be done by encouraging more exchanges and collaborations between tertiary institutions, media and other groups.

“Take the assignment of the Chinese medical team as an opportunity. We should expand medical cooperation. We welcome CXC’s decision of including Chinese in the Caribbean secondary schools' syllabus and hope the Confucius Institute of UWI Cave Hill will further advance teaching of Chinese language and showcasing China’s culture, so that more and more of our Bajan and Caribbean friends and learn Chinese and understand China better.”

“The future of China-Barbados relations is in the hands of our younger generation. We look forward to closer links and collaborations between Cave Hill Campus and Chinese universities to bring more young people of our two countries to join efforts in expanding cooperation and fostering friendship of China, Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean,” she said.

Stressing the importance of the 40 year old relationship and thanking past leaders for making it possible, the Ambassador said she is very confident in prospects of the future relationship between the two countries.

“In the political arena, we aim to maintain high-level visits and further expand communication at all levels, while dialogue between key agencies should be enhanced to promote a policy coordination and greater bilateral cooperation. Meanwhile, some communication and cooperation in international issues of shared interest should also continue.”

As it relates to economic cooperation the ambassador said the two countries will continue to work together on the Sam Lord’s and other projects.

“Chinese financial institutions and enterprises remain committed to exploring more cooperation in infrastructure projects in Barbados. We also should fully take advantage of China’s grants to support local agriculture infrastructure projects and extend our bilateral collaboration to experience sharing and technologies transfer in agriculture sector,” she said.

The joint event featured performances by the Chinese Tianjin Art Troupe in collaboration with Arturo Tappin, Terry “Mexican” Arthur, Dancin’ Africa as well as a photo exhibition depicting 40 years of cooperation between Barbados and China. (JH)

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