Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kerrie Symmonds, greets China’s Ambassador to Barbados, Yan Xiusheng, at their recent courtesy call. (J. Kelly/BGIS)

Barbados and China are keen on deepening their diplomatic relations in the areas of 5G technology, air travel and the Global Development Initiative (GDI).

These areas were discussed recently during a courtesy call paid by Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to Barbados, Yan Xiusheng, on Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Kerrie Symmonds, in the Ministry’s Ante-Room, Culloden Road, St. Michael.

Ambassador Xiusheng conveyed his appreciation of Barbados’ One China Policy, and Minister Symmonds gave the assurance that Barbados remains committed to this policy.

“It has been 46 years of very close relations between the two countries and we have benefitted considerably in terms of our development from our relationship with China and we don’t propose to see that change,” said the Minister.

Ambassador Xiusheng also spoke about the blue economy and improving maritime cooperation between Barbados and China. The Minister responded by saying: “I launched the Marine Spatial Planning Process to identify all of the different purposes for the marine space, which is about 425 to 430 times larger than our land space.

“We want to see how best we can monetise it and we also have to investigate the mineral resources especially, to make sure that there is fair and equal access across all of the marine space for our nationals and the different industries that might be involved, because we have renewable energy; traditional energy; fishing; tourism; etc., so we have to manage the process and conserve, in order for viable benefits to ensue.”

The Ambassador also outlined the Global Development Initiative (GDI), which builds on the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.  Minister Symmonds vowed to take a personal interest, and reassured the Ambassador that almost every one of the objectives of the GDI is aligned to the development objectives that Prime Minister Mia Amor Mottley has recognised.

During the discussions on 5G technology, Minister Symmonds pointed out: “There are a number of areas where a useful partnership would be beneficial, in developing a national cloud, then equally having smart education, smart health and ultimately come to the point where we have a public Wi-Fi framework. There is tremendous value to the island in improving our telecommunications strength.  To go 5G is to get ahead of the pack.”

On the topic of air travel, Mr. Symmonds stated that he welcomed the day when Air China lands in Barbados. Ambassador Xiusheng suggested that a promotion to attract tourists from China to Barbados would be invaluable in increasing Chinese awareness of Barbados’ beauty, and agreed that a direct flight from China to Barbados would be beneficial.

The Minister made the assertion that Barbados would always have its doors open to China and added that China also enjoys a very warm relationship with CARICOM.     

Barbados and China established diplomatic relations on May 30, 1977.

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