Writing a New Chapter of Friendship between Antigua and Barbuda and China
2021/01/31
 
On 30th January, 2021, the article titled "Writing a New Chapter of Friendship between Antigua and Barbuda and China" was published on the Caribbean Observer newspaper, co-authored by Mr. Wang Gang, Chargé d'affaires of the Chinese Embassy in Antigua and Barbuda and Mr. Anthony Liverpool, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration. As follows:

 

 

 

"Antigua and Barbuda gave me the window of opportunity, I took it and ran through the doors China opened for me... I stand ready to serve the two peoples, contributing to the friendship between the two countries," (Quotation taken from written comments by Monifa St John, an Antigua and Barbuda student who studied in China for 11 years.)

Before the coronavirus pandemic, Monifa lived in the Chinese city of Wuhan, the most populous city in Central China on scholarships from the Chinese government. She loves the city and calls it "the second home" . Currently she is employed by the Ministry of Health of Antigua and Barbuda, as a senior mental health coordinator. Her story is an epitome of friendship between the two countries.

 

As the dawn light illuminates the skyline in China, tourists in the twin island state are just about to ride a sailing boat on a sunset tour of the Caribbean. In spite of being separated by vast oceans, friendship between the two countries can never be severed.

In 1983 when the two sides established diplomatic ties, Sir Vere Cornwall Bird said, "China is an awakening lion." The past 38 years has witnessed deepened bilateral exchanges, with joint efforts by the two governments and peoples, setting an example of friendly relationship based on equality and win-win cooperation. In 2020, the two countries continued to work together in combating COVID-19 and sustaining the pace of cooperation in a more resolute way.

 

.Deepened mutual political trust. 

China respects the independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Antigua and Barbuda, and supports the development path chosen by its people. Meanwhile, Antigua and Barbuda firmly stands for the "one China" principle and gives China invaluable support on issues involving its core interests. Both countries are committed to forging a new type of relationship featuring mutual respect, equality, mutual support, and win-win cooperation towards a community of shared future for mankind. In the past year, Chinese president Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi, have reaffirmed Antigua and Barbuda as an important partner to China in the Caribbean, and have expressed China's willingness to work with the twin island state to promote cooperation for mutual development.

Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda, Honorable Gaston Browne, applauds the support from China as an important development partner. He would congratulate the Chinese Communist Party on its 100th anniversary and speak highly of  China' achievement and successes. The projected completion of the new purposed-built Embassy of the People's Republic of China in 2021, will further signal the importance and value placed on the long term bilateral relations between our two countries.

 

. Joint efforts to combat COVID-19.

The two sides have continued to join hands in face of the challenges arising from pandemic prevention and control and economic recovery. By putting people and their lives first, China wrote the epic of fight against the pandemic with solidarity and resilience. China's V-shaped recovery has given a full demonstration of the resilience of its economy.

In Antigua and Barbuda, people have made marvelous efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 and maintained economic development and social stability with courage and wisdom. Antigua and Barbuda appreciates the donation of medical supplies and equipment by China and looks forward to continued cooperation in the fight against this deadly pandemic.

In 2020, China held high-level special meetings with Latin American and Caribbean countries, at the Minister's and Vice Minister's level to deepen multilateral coordination in containing the virus. All countries involved have reaffirmed opposition to any politicization, stigmatization and name-calling associated with the virus.

 

. Sustained momentum of cooperation in various fields. 

In 2020, the two governments signed a new agreement of bilateral economic and technical cooperation.

The Hon. E. P. Chet Greene, Minister of Foreign Affairs,Immigration and Trade, and the Hon. Charles Fernandez, Minister of Tourism and Investment of Antigua and Barbuda have recently attended the online opening ceremony of the Third China International Import Expo.

As a key project under the Belt and Road Initiative, the reconstruction and expansion of St. John's Deep Water Port recorded tangible progress in 2020, with the completion of the container terminal. The construction of two community centers were completed as scheduled. Technical cooperation in agriculture has contributed to the "backyard gardening" initiatives, boosting the local food security at the height of the pandemic.  Recently, China has opened its market to lobsters from Antigua and Barbuda, by  officially recognizing a local seafood company as a lobster supplier to China.

The Confucius Institute, as a fresh window for the people of Antigua and Barbuda to access Chinese culture, has continued to open classes to locals. In 2020, the Chinese government provided Antigua and Barbuda with another 15 scholarships. Like Monifa, more local youth are about to start the journey to fulfilling their dreams.

 

. Closer coordination on the international stage. 

As the world grapples with the challenges of the most deadly pandemic in a century, both sides firmly support the principles of the United Nations and the World Trade Organization as pillars of multilateralism and are committed to promoting the democratization of international relations, and jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing and small and medium-sized countries.

Antigua and Barbuda and China maintain productive cooperation on important issues such as the reform of the UN Security Council and the reform of the global governance system. Both sides attach importance to climate change, and support the implementation of Paris Climate Accord. China's declaration of a carbon neutral goal to advance global schedule and its contribution to the global ecosystem, are highly appreciated  by Antigua and Barbuda.

Both China and Antigua and Barbuda seek to expand cooperation in oceanography and the green economy, and commit to integrating new development concepts into the Belt and Road Initiative. China firmly supports Antigua and Barbuda as the chairman of the Alliance of Small Island States (OASIS) for the period 2021 to 2022.

As a developing country, China takes an inclusive approach to  cooperation, which is significant pillar for our friendship and underpins the basis of our relations.

Given the challenges we face in an ever dynamic international political arena, we are called to be innovative in the way we approach our cooperation initiatives and programs to ensure a shared growth and sustained development for all our citizens.

As a Chinese poem puts it, "no mountains and oceans can separate people with shared goals and vision." In 2021, China will embark on the new journey of building a socialist modern country in an all-round way, as Antigua and Barbuda will take strides towards its goal of a major economic growth pole in the region. At this new juncture, China and Antigua and Barbuda are willing to maintain close cooperation, uphold the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and jointly write a new chapter of friendship.

EMBASSY OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA IN ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Chinese Embassy, McKinnons Way, St. John’s, Antigua and Barbuda
P.O.BOX 1446, St. John’s, Antigua, W.I.
http://ag.china-embassy.org/chn/