Xi: Visit to Renew China Ties with Trinidad and Tobago
   2013-06-01 11:00:03    Xinhua      Web Editor: Liu Yuanhui

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrives in Port of Spain on Friday, May 31, 2013, to start a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago. [Photo: Xinhua]

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Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday that his state visit to Trinidad and Tobago will "inject new and strong vitality" into the development of relations between China and the Caribbean country.

"To consolidate and advance China-Trinidad and Tobago relations will not only benefit our two peoples, but also contribute to the unity and cooperation between China and countries in the Caribbean region and other developing countries," Xi said in a written statement issued upon his arrival in Port of Spain.

The Chinese president was greeted by President Anthony Carmona, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and other leaders of Trinidad and Tobago at the airport, where Carmona hosted a welcoming ceremony in honor of Xi.

Xi, the first Chinese president to visit Trinidad and Tobago since the two nations established diplomatic relations in 1974, is expected to hold talks with Carmona and Persad-Bissessar on how to expand bilateral cooperation.

"I look forward to having in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest with President Anthony Carmona, Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and other leaders of Trinidad and Tobago," Xi said.

"I am confident that with our joint efforts, my visit will achieve full success and inject new and strong vitality into the growth of friendly relations between our two countries," he said.

Xi will also hold bilateral meetings in Port of Spain with the leaders of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Surinam and Jamaica, all of which are Caribbean countries with diplomatic ties with China, according to Chinese officials.

Xi said that he looks forward to discussing bilateral ties with the leaders of the Caribbean countries and exploring together ways to boost cooperation.

"I believe that with the concerted efforts of all participants, these meetings will be successful and elevate the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Caribbean countries to a new level," he said.

Trinidad and Tobago is an important cooperative partner of China in the English-speaking Caribbean region.

The two countries advanced to a friendly and cooperative relationship of mutual benefit and development in 2005, with bilateral cooperation in political, economic, trade and cultural fields boosted in recent years.

Two-way trade stood at 449 million U.S. dollars in 2012, according to official figures.

During Xi's stay in Trinidad and Tobago, the two countries are expected to sign a number of cooperative documents covering economy, trade and education, Chinese officials said.

Winston Dookeran, foreign minister of Trinidad and Tobago said Thursday his country hopes to take the opportunity of Xi's visit to table a number of proposals, including measures for boosting trade and investment between the two countries.

Other proposals will include furthering cooperation in the energy sector, identifying new areas for technical cooperation particularly in the fields of agriculture, education and sport, and encouraging the exchange of high-level visits between government officials of the two countries, Dookeran said.

Trinidad and Tobago also hopes that Xi's visit could help strengthen cooperation between China and regional organizations within the Latin America and the Caribbean, as well as further cooperation between Trinidad and Tobago and China in international affairs, he said.

From Port of Spain, the Chinese president will travel to Costa Rica and Mexico for state visits.

After his Latin American tour, Xi will fly to the U.S. state of California for a summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on June 7-8 at Sunnylands, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg estate in Rancho Mirage.

The China-U.S. summit will be the first of its kind since both nations completed their most recent leadership transitions. 

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