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H.E. Ambassador Wang Ke's Remarks at the Joint Reception in Celebration of China-Barbados 40 Years of Diplomatic Ties
2017/05/31

(May 29th, 2017, Hilton Resort)

Minister of Tourism and International Transport, The Hon. Richard Sealy, Representing Prime Minister The Rt. Hon. Freundel Stuart ,

Hon. Ministers of the Cabinet,

Members of Parliament,

Representatives from Diplomatic Corps,

Mr. Jin Yongwei, head of China Tianjin Art Troupe,

Representatives from Chinese Association in Barbados, Chinese Companies in Barbados, Chinese Medical Team, UWI Cave Hill Confucius Institute,

Distinguished Guests,

Friends from local media and China Central Television and China’s People’s Daily,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Good evening.

A warm welcome to all of you to attend this reception celebrating the fortieth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Barbados jointly held by the Chinese Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Barbados. Taking this opportunity, I would like to extend deep gratitude to the Tianjin Art Troupe, which came a long way from China to join this celebrations. I am sure they will offer their best Chinese style performance.

On May 30, 1977, China and Barbados officially established diplomatic relations, which marks Barbados one of the very first English-speaking Caribbean countries to forge diplomatic ties with China. China highly appreciates that Barbadian Government keeps its commitment by unswervingly adhering to One China Policy, and has always seen Barbados as a critical partner in the region.

Over the past forty years, China and Barbados enjoyed increasingly enhanced political and economic cooperation and thriving people-to-people exchanges and a lot of breakthroughs and strides were made in recent years. The Chinese Embassy and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have cooperatively selected some 60 photos exhibited right here at the ballroom. From these sparkling moments captured, the whole picture of a steady and healthy development of China-Barbados relations vividly unfolded in front of us. Later, China Barbados joint initiative, the commemorative cover featuring the 40th anniversary will be unveiled to commemorate this milestone.

In the past five months, as our fraternal relations entered into the fortieth year, more achievements were witnessed in our bilateral cooperation. In January, the first assignment of Chinese Medical Team stationed at Queen Elisabeth Hospital started clinic service and medical exchange with their counterparts. In February, the third “Fish and Dragon Festival” celebrating the Chinese New Year became a great hit with a huge turnout exceeding 5,000 at the Church Village Green fair. In March, the Agreement on Mutual Visa Exemption for Ordinary Passport Holders was signed. Also, the largest presentation of teaching material by China with a value of 10 million BBD was handed over. In April, Financed by the concessional loans from China EXIM Bank, the Rehabilitation of Sam Lord’s Castle Resort officially commenced, and the third Chinese language proficiency competition, known as the “Chinese Bridge”, was successfully held at UWI Cave Hill. In May, Madame Fu Ying, Chairperson of Foreign Affairs Committee of China’s National People’s Congress paid a very successful visit to Barbados, many activities were organized at the first China week at UWI Cave Hill, among which the first joint conference of Confucius Institutes in the Caribbean region convened. The inaugural Caribbean-China International Law Moot Competition was held, young and promising students from Cave Hill Campus and China University of Political Science and Law presented a close and exciting match. All these achievements, as a miniature of the 40 years’ development of our bilateral cooperation, have heated up our 40th anniversary celebrations.

Ladies and Gentlemen, dear friends,

Looking back at 40 years’ progress, I feel very proud to say that China-Barbados relationship is now in its prime time. This would not happen without the commitment and efforts made by the two governments and friends from all walks of life. China-Barbados relations would never come such a long way without the active contribution of our guests present today. We also owe our gratitude to the older generations of leaders and friends from our two countries, who laid firm foundation for the continuous and vigorous development of this relationship. Therefore, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, I would like to say “thank you all” from bottom of my heart, and I shall count on your continued devotion and support in building an even closer China-Barbados relationship.

Looking into the future, I have every confidence in the prospects of this relationship. Three days ago, a forum under the theme of “Barbados and the People’s Republic of China-Celebrating Forty Years of Relations: Achievements, Opportunities and Strategies”was successfully held, short, medium and long term strategy and solutions brainstormed, and many inventive, practical and feasible agreements achieved.

In political cooperation, we aim to maintain high-level visits and further expand communication at all levels including the two governments’ agencies, legislation bodies and political parties, while dialogues between key agencies should be enhanced to promote policy coordination and greater bilateral cooperation. Meanwhile, the sound communication and coordination in multilateral issues of shared interests should also continue.

In economic cooperation, we will work together to ensure a smooth carryout of Sam Lord’s Castle Project. Chinese financial institutions and enterprises remain committed to exploring more cooperation in large scale infrastructure projects in Barbados. We also should fully take the advantage of China’s grant to support local agricultural infrastructure projects and extend our bilateral collaborations to experiences sharing and technologies transfer in agricultural sector. Within only three days, the agreement on visa waiver for ordinary passport holders will come into effect, which opens a new prospect for our tourism cooperation. I wish, by our joint efforts of promoting Barbados as a tourist attraction, this country will benefit from “Chinese tourist boom”. The win-win partnership between China and Barbados is and will be a certainty. China is willing to share its development dividend and welcome Barbados get aboard on “China Express”.

In terms of people-to-people exchange, we need to further enhance cooperation of culture, education and healthcare, encourage more exchanges and collaborations between tertiary institutions, media and art groups. Taking the assignment of 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 Confucius Institute U.W.I. Cave Hill will further advance its teaching of Chinese language and showcasing China’s culture, so that more and more of our Bajan and Caribbean friends can 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 and the Chinese universities to bring more young people of the two countries to join the efforts in expanding cooperation and fostering friendship of China, Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean.

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Let us cherish this prime time of China-Barbados relationship, seize opportunities and work for another more fruitful 40 years for our bilateral relations.

In closing, I invite all of you to join me in a toast:

To the 40th anniversary of China-Barbados diplomatic relations,

To the next fruitful 40 years,

To the development and prosperity of China and Barbados, and

To the health of all the friends present tonight,

Cheers!

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