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Remarks by Ambassador Wang Ke at the Deck Reception Held by Chinese Navy Hospital Ship
November 28, 2015

The Hon. Richard Sealy, Acting Prime Minister,

Honourable Ministers,

Commander Errington Ricardo Shurland, Acting Chief of Staff of Barbados Defence Force,

Colleagues from Diplomatic Corps in Barbados,

Senior Captain Guan Bolin, Task Group Commander of “Mission Harmony 2015”,

Captain Guo Baofeng, Commanding Officer of Ark Peace, Chinese Navy Hospital Ship,

The Entire Medical Team and military Officers onboard,

Representatives from Chinese enterprises, Chinese Association and Confucius Institute in Barbados,

Specially Invited Guests,

Friends from Media,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A very good evening!

It is such a great pleasure to join you all at the deck reception held by Ark Peace, the Chinese Navy hospital ship. On behalf of the Chinese Embassy, I extend my warm welcome to Ark Peace’s visit to Barbados and express my heartfelt appreciation to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Ministry of Health, Barbados Defence Force (BDF) and agencies including the Port, Immigration, Customs and Police for your thoughtful and considerate arrangements for the visit of Ark Peace.

We are privileged to witness two “first-time” this evening--it is the very first time that a Chinese navy hospital ship pays goodwill visit to Barbados, and it is also the very first time that a foreign hospital ship offers free medical service to Barbados’ public. As Task Group Commander Guan just mentioned in his remarks, after 81 days’ voyage across the oceans since she set sail from home port in China on September 7, Ark Peace now makes the 5th port call at Barbados in her 7–stop “Mission Harmony 2015”.

We are welcoming a ship for peace. Taking the task of “Mission Harmony” for 5 consecutive years since 2010, the hospital ship has participated in and provided medical services for regional and international military deployment and exercises such as anti-piracy and vessel-escorting operations in the Gulf of Aden, “RIMPAC 2014” and China-Malaysia joint military exercise coded “Peace Friendship 2015”, which are vivid display of China’s foreign policy featured with peace, development and win-win cooperation.

We are welcoming a ship for life. Designed and built in China as a platform for emergency medical support at sea, Ark Peace has made port calls to some 27 countries around the world since her commission in 2008. By providing humanitarian rescue and medical services to a number of over 90,000 people both at home and overseas, the hospital ship has won her fame for “oasis at sea”.

We are welcoming a ship for friendship. Anchoring at Bridgetown yesterday, Ark Peace opened to the public for tour, and her medical teams conducted training session themed disease prevention for BDF and paid visit to Vauxhall Senior Citizen Village to donate cultural and sports equipments today. During the rest of the stay, the hospital ship will provide free medical check-ups to patients on referral by the Ministry of Health and BDF, several medical seminars will be organized, the medical team onboard will pay visit to Violet Gittens Centre for children with disability, the representatives of hospital ship will observe the military parade on Independence Day at the invitation of BDF, and there will be a series of interactions between the military and medical staff of the ship and their counterparts in BDF. Through the exchanges mentioned above, I believe that the understanding and friendship between Chinese and Barbadian people will be further enriched, and the bilateral and mil-to-mil relations enhanced.

Barbados ranks one of the most important countries in the Caribbean, and China has always attached importance to its relations with Barbados. In China-Barbados 38 years of diplomatic ties, our bilateral relations have been healthy, smooth and fruitful. Our economic cooperation and people-to-people exchanges have grown from strength to strength. Just few days ago, we witnessed the loan agreement signing ceremony and groundbreaking ceremony held for Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel redevelopment project, the first major tourism infrastructure project financed by China’s large-scale preferential loans and constructed by Chinese enterprise, which sets a milestone in China-Barbados cooperation for mutual benefit and serves our shared interest as well in further developing our bilateral relations.

This November has marks two major events in China-Barbados relations: the redevelopment project of Sam Lord’s Castle Hotel mentioned above and Chinese Navy hospital ship’s goodwill visit to Barbados, which perfectly conclude China-Barbados bilateral relations in 2015 and surely write new chapters in the cooperation and friendship between our two countries.

To close my remarks, I wish the inaugural visit of Ark Peace to Barbados every success and a very beautiful and memorable night on Ark Peace to everyone!

I thank you all very much.

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