Caribbean – China discusses mutual interest

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GEORGETOWN, Guyana, (DPI) – Hugh Hilton Todd, minister of foreign affairs and international cooperation, on April 28, 2022, participated in a virtual meeting of the foreign ministers of China and Caribbean Countries sharing Diplomatic Relations with China.

The foreign ministers of Antigua and Barbuda, The Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago also participated in the meeting. Barbados was represented by minister in the ministry of foreign affairs and foreign trade.

The meeting was co-chaired by His Excellency Wang Yi, State Councilor and foreign minister of China and Reginald Austrie, acting prime minister Commonwealth of Dominica. The main purpose of the meeting was to reflect on the achievements of Caribbean-China relations over the past 50 years, discuss issues of mutual interest and recommendation an advancement in the programme of cooperation and interaction among Caribbean countries and China.

State councilor and foreign minister Wang Yi in his remarks lauded the relations and said that over the past 50 years China has remained committed to supporting developing countries. He added that relations have remained fruitful through cooperation in a wide range of areas of mutual interest to the Caribbean countries and China. The Chinese foreign minister noted that China continues to be committed to further strengthening these relations, particularly through enhancing medical cooperation by donating Covid-19 vaccines to interested countries. He noted too, that China respects the sovereignty of all nations and is well aware of its international obligation to support developing nations, such as those of the Caribbean, in their efforts to forge paths of development and manage global issues.

Hugh Hilton Todd provided a wide-ranging intervention on how Caribbean-China relations can be enhanced through collaboration at the multilateral level. He noted China’s commitment to true multilateralism as the path to finding shared solutions to global challenges with the participation of all states. Minister Todd also took the opportunity to reaffirm Guyana’s commitment to the One China Policy.

Further, minister Todd addressed the issue of climate change being a prime global issue, owing to the existential threat it presents to countries particularly those in the Caribbean that are most vulnerable to its impacts. He highlighted Guyana’s principal concerns which remain the achievement of the 1.5 degree Celsius target and access to sufficient financing for adaptation and mitigation.

Minister Todd further outlined the particular challenges of Guyana as a low-lying coastal state, vulnerable to flooding as a result of sea-level rise and extreme weather events, such as heavy rainfall. He said that this phenomenon threatens important sectors of Guyana’s economy, including critical infrastructure, thereby hindering Guyana’s ability to adapt to the devastating impacts of climate change. He underscored that it was within this context, that Guyana had launched the Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) in 2009 and launched the expanded Strategy-LCDS 2030 in 2021.

Minister Todd told the meeting that there is a need to bridge the energy and infrastructure gap in the region to increase disaster preparedness, boost economic recovery and address challenges to food security, among others. Impediments to investment in infrastructure, both on the demand and supply sides and lack of available funding pose a challenge to bridging this gap. He also said that building resilient economies entails investing in resilient infrastructure, restoring trade, particularly through increased connectivity and sustainable supply chains and long-term investments in low-carbon technologies.

The minister further said that Guyana welcomes China’s support and advocacy to increase ambition for adaptation and mitigation as a coordinated push for finance is urgently needed. He reiterated Guyana’s interest in collaborating with the countries of the Caribbean region and China.

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