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Sincere Partnership between China & Barbados
2013/04/11

On April 11, 2013, the Barbados Advocate published the article Sincere Partnership between China, Barbados submitted by H.E. Mr. Xu Hong, Chinese Ambassador to Barbados. The full text is as follows.

Not long before, a successful election was held in Barbados and the new government took office smoothly later. The then Chinese Premier H. E. Mr. Wen Jiabao sent a congratulatory message to re-elected Prime Minister Hon. Freundel Stuart soon after his assumption of P.M. Noting that Barbados was an important partner of China in the Caribbean region, Premier Wen Jiabao hoped the mutually beneficial cooperative friendship could continue to be strengthened during the term of the new government of Barbados.

In the middle of March, a new session of the National People’s Congress of China was held and new state leaders were elected during the meeting. Prime Minister Hon. Freundel Stuart also sent his congratulatory message to new Chinese President H. E. Mr. Xi Jinping and Premier H. E. Mr. Li Keqiang.

Just as the leaders of both countries indicate, the relationship between China and Barbados have achieved greatly in politics, economy and trade, and culture since the diplomatic relations established 36 years ago. We have maintained good coordinations and cooperations in international and regional affairs and the two countries have become sincere partners and true friends of mutual support and collaboration.

-----To develop the partnership and friendship between China and Barbados is the need of common progress and meets the common wishes of the two countries and peoples. Both China and Barbados are developing countries with similar developmental tasks. In the throne speech delivered by H. E. Elliott Belgrave, Governor General of Barbados, ushering in the new parliamentary term, he expressed that the new government’s policy objective was a socially balanced, economically viable, environmentally sound, society characterized by good governance. While in the government work report approved by the NPC of China, it states that government will comprehensively promote economic, political, cultural, social and ecological progress and achieve sustained, healthy growth and social harmony and stability. Though the text words are different, we can easily see many similarities in the two governments’ task objectives.

Under the background of deepening globalization, the converged interests of countries become more and more close, and the need of joint response to global threats and challenges is growing more and more urgent. Despite the long distance between China and Barbados, we are living in the same global village and we are members of the human family with common destiny. One could consider other’s development as its own opportunity, seek its own development from it, and at the same time, promote common development and prosperity by enhancing cooperation. For instance, the new cabinet of Barbados put forward that the centre piece of Barbados’ economic strategy will be the creation of a Renewable Energy Revolution. China also attaches great importance to development and utilization of renewable energy, and it has the world’s largest photovoltaic power generation capacity and fastest growth of renewable energy. The two countries have broad prospects for cooperation in this field.

------The fundamental principles of developing the partnership and friendship between China and Barbados are sincerity, equity and mutual respect. Not only the sizes of the two countries, but social system, cultural tradition and customs are very much different. Those differences should not drift us apart, on the contrary, should be the cause of mutual attraction and excellent complementary.

China has always been maintaining that every country, regardless of its size, strength and wealth, is an equal member of the international community, firmly opposing those big, rich or strong countries bullying the small, poor or weak ones, urging each party to respect the diversity of civilization and developmental patterns and objecting to interference in other countries' internal affairs under any pretext.

As such, China never attaches any political conditions when carrying out external economic and technical cooperation. I have noticed a point of view alleging China's such conduct is out of selfishness and will threaten the international order and so called "universal values", which I think, is the reflection of cold war mentality and far behind the demands of today's international community and the trend of pursuing peace, development, and cooperation of our time. Each country has the right to choose its own developmental pattern and no one can impose its own will on others, let alone, resort to use of force for its private interest.

The history of 36 years of diplomatic ties between China and Barbados is just a reveal of the spirit of sincerity, equality and mutual respect. China's respect of the dignity of Barbados as an independent sovereign nation and Barbados' firm support of China’s core interests relating to its sovereignty and territorial integrity lay a solid political foundation of bilateral friendly cooperation.

-----The key element to develop the partnership and friendship between China and Barbados is complementary advantages and mutual benefit. There is a proverb called “one hand cannot clap” both in Barbados and China, which vividly illustrates the importance of cooperation. For 36 years, great achievements have been made by bilateral cooperation. Take the trade for example, there is a rapid growth of trade between China and Barbados in recent years, and especially the growth rate of exports to China was much higher than imports from China. In the year of 2012, the amount of exports to China increased from previous year’s $6.7 million to $10.33 million at a rate of 54% with products ranging from medical equipments, chemical products, to electronic accessories. Compared to 2005, Barbados’ exports to China grew 48 times. The data with Barbados Statistical Service revealed that in 2008, China was Barbados’ 5th imports partner and 26th exports partner; in 2012, China has become the 4th imports partner and 14th exports partner. During the past 5 years, the amount of imports from and exports to China increased 21.8% and 360% respectively. Though the absolute value of the trade is not very large, real benefits have been brought to the peoples of the two countries and the developing trend is really encouraging.

Another example is cultural exchanges. I believe readers must have fresh memories of the excellent performances by the Band of the People’s Libration Army of China and Shenzhen Folk Music Troupe both visited Barbados last year. We expect that in the near future, artists from Barbados can appear on the stages in China, giving the Chinese people a chance to appreciate the enthusiastic Caribbean feel.

In the near future, we will be pioneering and innovative to forge new growth points of cooperation, especially in tourism, agriculture, education, infrastructural construction and human resources development. We will deepen the friendship of the peoples of the two countries by promoting people-to-people exchanges to achieve a leap forward of the bilateral friendly and cooperative relations.

-----The essential purpose of developing the partnership and friendship between China and Barbados is to promote common progress and improve the well-being of the people. People both in China and Barbados long for a beautiful life. With over 30 years of reform and opening up, China’s economic and social development have made historic progress with GDP ranked second in the world, comprehensive national strength enhanced markedly, and lives of ordinary people improved significantly. However, the basic national conditions of China are still a large population, a rather weak economic foundation and uneven development with per capita GDP ranked 90th globally and many urgent problems needed to be solved. But most importantly, Chinese people have found a development path that suits China’s basic conditions after long-time exploration and we are full of confidence of the prospect of the socialist with Chinese characteristics. At present, Chinese people are committed to realizing the “Chinese Dream” of national rejuvenation. Barbados is also facing the task of shaking off the negative impact of global financial crisis, developing economy and improving people’s livelihood to fulfill the dream of rich, peaceful and happy life of Barbadians. On the journey to realize our dreams, China and Barbados are sincere partners and true friends, and as long as we learn from each other, support and help each other, we must be able to realize common progress.

At this important moment of both governments of China and Barbados opening their new 5 year’s term, we are sincerely pleased by the past and more confident of the future. Recently, I have made extensive contacts with friends from the political and business circles, and reached many important consensuses on further developing practical cooperation between the two countries. We expect that, an improved legal framework of bilateral cooperation, more facilities in people-to-people exchanges and new cooperative projects will bring more tangible benefits to the people in China and Barbados.

“Talking the talk is not as good as walking the walk”. Together with the government and people of Barbados, the Chinese side will, with proactive and pragmatic attitude, work hard to advance the bilateral cooperative partnership to a new level.

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