China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in Trinidad and Tobago on a rainy Friday night to host bilateral discussions with a number of CARICOM member states. Guyana’s President Donald Ramotar and a Government team will meet face to face with the Chinese President for a series of bilateral discussions over the weekend.
This is the first visit by the Chinese President to the Caribbean region and it comes less than five days after the Vice President of the United States wrapped up a similar visit to the region.
Guyana and China have held close diplomatic relations for forty years and the Chinese government over those years has invested heavily into the Guyanese economy and the public and private sectors. China has pledged to invest over US$1 Billion in Guyana over the next few years. Chinese Ambassador to Guyana Zhang Limin recently described relations between Georgetown and Beijing as being at its historic best.
During the bilateral discussions with the Chinese President and a high level team, President Donald Ramotar is expected to talk about a number of projects that the Government of China has supported in Guyana. He is also expected to brief the Chinese leader on efforts by Guyana to strengthen trade between the two countries and deepen foreign relations.
China has been steadily making its presence known in Guyana by supporting major infrastructural projects while the Government of Guyana has embraced Chinese contractors for major tax payer funded projects.
According to the Government Information Agency, “the relations have benefited Guyana socially and economically with a number of key projects, like the One Laptop Per Family, (OLPF) Amaila Falls Hydro project, the expansion of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport and the construction of the world-class Marriott hotel.”
The Chinese President is expected to meet with a number of other CARICOM Heads of Government during his two-day State Visit to Trinidad and Tobago. CARICOM states which share diplomatic relations with Taiwan will not be meeting with the Chinese President. China considers Taiwan a “renegade province”. At least four CARICOM states share official diplomatic ties with Taiwan.
Guyana was the first english speaking Caribbean nation to develop diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China.