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China-LAC have a promising shared future

NIU
Qingbao

Monday, January 22, 2018

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On January 22, 2018, the Second Ministerial Meeting of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)-China Forum (CCF) will be held in Santiago, Chile. This CCF, attended by Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi; Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade of Jamaica; and their fellow foreign ministers from other countries of CELAC offers a good opportunity of enhancing China-Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) cooperation.

LAC is a priority in China foreign policy. Both are in a similar development stage, face same tasks of development, and offer development opportunities to each other. China cannot develop in the absence of development of other developing territories, including LAC. China-LAC cooperation has common interest and is conducive to world stability and prosperity.

China-LAC mutual political trust is ever more consolidated. President of China Xi Jinping has visited 10 LAC countries during his three visits since 2013, and met leaders of all LAC countries that have diplomatic relations with China. President Xi and his counterparts intensively exchanged views on important issues of global governance, China-LAC overall cooperation, and the forging of a shared future between the two territories.

China and LAC share similar views on the need for a more just and reasonable world order, have conducted intensive communication and coordination at the United Nations and in G-20; Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) and Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings; and have supported each other on issues of common concern and each other's core interest. They reached a whole range of consensus and achievements that lead the overall cooperation between the two territories.

LAC is indispensable in the Belt and Road initiative. The Pacific Maritime Silk Road that connects China and Latin America dates back more than 400 years. China is willing to partner with LAC in the Belt and Road framework. We should follow the principles of “equal consultation, joint construction and shared benefit” and promote policy coordination; infrastructure connectivity; unimpeded trade, financial cooperation; and people-to-people friendship. Then we will be able to find new development opportunities, grasp new growth driving forces, open new development fronts and achieve mutual complementarity, mutual benefit and win-win, thus moving toward a community of shared future.

China and LAC are getting more integrated. China seeks mutually beneficial cooperation and common development with LAC and is ready to work with LAC countries to build the new “1+3+6” framework for pragmatic cooperation (ie, guided by the China-LAC Countries Cooperation Plan 2015-2019; utilising trade, investment and financial cooperation as driving forces; and identifying energy and resources, infrastructure construction, agriculture, manufacturing, scientific and technological innovation and information technology as cooperation priorities).

China is now the second-biggest trade partner of LAC, with our two-way trade from January to October of 2017 totalling US$210 billion — an 18.3 per cent increase over the same period in 2016. LAC is China's second-largest investment destination after Asia, attracting US$27 billion in Chinese investment in 2016 and recording an annual increase of 116 per cent. Accumulated foreign direct investment from China has reached US$207 billion (15.3 per cent of China's total outgoing investment). China is also a critical production capacity cooperation partner of LAC. With that, we are more than happy to see, here in Jamaica, that Alpart is up and running again.

China-LAC friendship is ever more popular. We are having frequent exchanges between our legislatures, localities, media, and think tanks. Robust cooperation is ongoing in education, culture and tourism. The successful staging of the China-LAC Cultural Exchange Year in 2016 triggered a new wave of mutual appreciation and learning of our cultures. In the face of the disaster of hurricanes in some Caribbean countries last year, China helped in a timely fashion, and in as much as we could, which is our tradition of standing together with our brothers through thick and thin.

As a responsible international player, China has spared no efforts in pushing forward the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change — a top concern for Caribbean island countries. China's commitment to partnership with LAC on climate change constitutes a stable and reliable force that Caribbean countries in particular have benefited from and will continue to benefit.

Building an international community with a shared future is the main theme of Chinese foreign policy set out by the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2017. With detailed plans for development and international cooperation, especially the commitment to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, China will surely create more opportunities that can benefit LAC and other countries worldwide.

We have only one globe, “let's get together and feel all right”.

Niu Qingbao is the ambassador of the People's Republic of China to Jamaica.

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