|Prime Minister Freundel Stuart is seen having a tete-a-tete with three of the Bajan Students in China at the reception – (from left) Djang Pile, Hallam Henry and Anya Lewis (C. Pitt/BGIS)??|
With the national flags of Barbados and China fluttering ??side-by-side, and a greeting that bore testimony to the good relations that exist between the two countries, Prime Minister Freundel Stuart set foot in China today for the first time, at the start of a hectic, one-week, official visit.
Just seven months in office, Mr. Stuart is the latest Barbadian Head of Government to accept an invitation to pay an official visit to the People’s Republic of China. His predecessor, David Thompson, made an official trip to China in 2008, and former Prime Minister, Owen Arthur, was there in 2007.
Noting that he welcomed the opportunity to visit the country that was quietly emerging as the leading economy in the global sphere of activity, he said he was looking forward to successful talks with the Chinese leadership on a number of important bilateral and international matters.
Mr. Stuart is accompanied by his Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Senator Maxine McClean, and other senior government officials.
During the six-day visit, he is expected to hold discussions on several areas of mutual interest, particularly alternative and renewable energy; education and infrastructural development; as well as ways to further strengthen Sino/Barbados relations. The Prime Minister is also scheduled to sign two bilateral agreements tomorrow with his Chinese counterpart.
Earlier today, Mr. Stuart and his delegation held talks with the country’s Ambassador to China, Sir Lloyd Sandiford, and took time out to visit the historic Forbidden City. Later, he had a chance to meet with a number of Barbadian students and other Barbadians studying and living in China, as well as other CARICOM Ambassadors in Beijing, during an official reception.
Barbados and China formally established diplomatic ties in 1977, and China has had an embassy in Bridgetown soon after that. ??Barbados opened a mission in Beijing in 2010 which is headed by former Prime Minister, Sir Lloyd Sandiford.
Over the years, this country has benefitted from technical, construction and financial assistance from the Chinese, and there have been cultural exchanges between the two states.