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China pledges $3 billion to region

Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries are to benefit from US$3 billion in concessional loans from China, according to President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, who is in the region to meet heads of state. 

Trinidad Express
Monday, June 3, 2013
Monday, June 3, 2013
Juhel Browne

XI & WIFECaribbean Community (Caricom) countries that support the People’s Republic of China’s One China policy, including Trinidad and Tobago, are to benefit from US$3 billion in concessional loans from that country.

Trinidad and Tobago, Jamaica, Suriname, Montserrat, Guyana, Barbados, The Bahamas, Grenada, Dominica, and Antigua and Barbuda support the One China policy, in which the People’s Republic of China does not recognise a separate entity called the Republic of China which administers Taiwan.

Belize, Haiti, St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, and St Kitts and Nevis maintain relations with Taiwan.

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar informed the media of the latest financial assistance being offered by the President of the People’s Republic of China, Xi Jinping, after she attended a luncheon held at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann’s, which featured an address from Xi while he was in T&T on a three-day State visit.

“President Jinping announced at the luncheon he will be contributing US$3 billion in concessional financing for the Caricom region, so we indeed thank him for that very generous gesture. US$3 billion for infrastructure projects—US$1.5 billion, and another US$1.5 billion for other kinds of development projects in the region,” Persad-Bissessar said.

The US$3 billion parting gift from Xi comes just days after United States Vice-Presi­dent Joe Biden paid a two-day visit to Trinidad, during which he met with several Caricom Heads of Government, including Haitian President Michel Martelly, St Vincent and the Grenadines Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves and St Kitts and Nevis Prime Minis­ter Dr Denzil Douglas.

In response to a question from the media, Persad-Bissessar said the concessional financing would be limited to those Caricom States that support the One China policy.

“And that is as it should be. You would have seen that those countries that do not support the One China policy were not invited by His Excellency for the meetings, for the bi-late­rals today, and I have no difficulty with that in principle because Trinidad and Tobago has always supported the One China poli­cy, as several other countries,” Persad-Bissessar said.

Speaking through an interpreter, China’s Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago, Huang Xingyuan, said the concessional financing may be increased in the future.

“One thing I would like to emphasise here is that the people of China will never forget their old friends, especially those friends that supported us at the crucial moments of history,” he said.

Caricom Heads of Government who attended the luncheon at the Hilton did so after Xi held bilateral meetings with each of them at the hotel.

They included Guyana’s President, Donald Ramotar; Suriname’s President, Desi Bouterse; Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Portia Simpson-Miller; Grenada’s Prime Minister, Dr Keith Mitchell; Dominica’s Prime Minister, Roosevelt Skerrit; and Prime Minister of The Bahamas Perry Christie.

Ramotar said he does see not the US$3 billion in concessional loans from People’s Republic of China to the Caricom States that support the One China policy as an attempt to gain influence internationally.

“I don’t think China has to gain influence. I think China is a powerful and influential country in the world and the question of what kind of influence to me, China has a very positive influence in the international arena and I welcome that,” Ramotar said.

Source: Juhel Browne, CCN.

Prime Minister Perry Christie met with the President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping in Port of Spain, Trinidad, yesterday. Watch a ZNS news report on the meeting here.

The official launch of the 40-Day Countdown to the 40th Independence Anniversary was held at the Office of The Prime Minister, Cable Beach, May 31, 2013. A launch event will be held June 4 in Rawson Square, Nassau. Pictured:Members of The National Independence Commission launch the 40-Day Countdown at the Office of The Prime Minister, Cable Beach, May 31, 2013. Pictured from left: Chairman of the 40th Anniversary Independence Secretariat, Jack Thompson; co-chair of the 40th Independence Anniversary Commission, Tracey Thompson; and Commission members Arlene Nash-Ferguson and Gail Saunders. (BIS photo/Raymond Bethel)

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