Barbados??? Ambassador to China, Dr. Chelston Brathwaite, has described the signing of the Mutual Visa Abolition Agreement with China as another step in building stronger relations with that Asian super power.

In his message which was read by Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Charles Burnett, the Ambassador said since the establishment of diplomatic relations with China in 1974, the relationship continued to be strengthened through the increasing number of commercial and business activities and the visits of high-level dignitaries to Barbados from China and from China to Barbados.

He said the signing ceremony ???marks the beginning of a new relationship with China that will redound to the benefit of both countries. We, therefore, welcome this initiative and look forward to the successful implementation of its provisions???.

Meanwhile, Chinese Ambassador, Wang Ke, said the signing of the Mutual Visa Abolition Agreement for holders of diplomatic and service or official passports was significant on three grounds.

The Ambassador said the Agreement, represented a year of hard work by the relevant agencies in both countries to bring this agreement to fruition.??She also pointed out that the Agreement, the first of its kind, was a ???substantial step forward in facilitating the exchange of visits of our two peoples???.

She explained that the holders of these passports would be exempted from visa requirements for entry or transit through the other country.??Ambassador Ke added: ???I believe it will provide convenience ???For example, in China, it will allow officials from government and business people from state-owned companies to enter Barbados easily [and this will lead to] an enhancement of our bilateral relations.

She also said that the signing enriched the ???contents of our bilateral cooperation and is another testimony of our good relationship???.??

???Over the past months, we???ve seen new [areas of] cooperation in the fields of education, culture, human resource training. Additionally, the two countries have been mapping out a number of projects which will be funded by the Chinese,??? Ambassador Ke underlined.

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