50th anniversary: Guyana-China relations stronger than ever – Ali
…welcomes contributions being made by Chinese community
Wednesday marked the 50th anniversary celebration of Guyana-China relations, with President Dr Irfaan Ali, in his feature address, using the occasion to highlight the important role China plays in Guyana and the strength of bilateral relations between the two countries.
According to President Ali, Chinese are not only welcome contributors to Guyana’s development, they are also part of Guyana’s cultural heritage. President Ali described Guyana-China relations as “imperishable”.
“Relations between Guyana and the People’s Republic of China are imperishable. Inseparable ties with China have brought tremendous development gains, have brought our people closer together. Excellency, my Government is committed to a ‘One Guyana’ initiative which is aimed at ensuring greater inclusiveness,” he said.
“In this paradigm, we seek to create an environment where all feel comfortable, to build their lives and relish being part of a closely-knitted Guyana. My Government desires to show no partiality. And this is why Chinese nationals, like nationals of any other country, are welcome to our country’s national development.”
The President zeroed in on the various ways in which Guyana and China have been partners in development, across various sectors. Not only has China partnered with Guyana on developmental issues, but the countries have also been partners on the international stage.
“Our cooperation has straddled almost all areas of national development, including agriculture, culture, defence cooperation, education, health, information communication technology, infrastructural development, private investment, security, sport, trade and transportation,” Dr Ali said.
“But the rich interactions between Guyana and China over the past half of a century have not been limited only to the bilateral level. As our beliefs, principles and interests converge, our two countries have continued to collaborate in international forums.”
These, according to President Ali, include the China-Caribbean consultations, the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC)-China Forum, the Caribbean-China Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum, the United Nations, the G77 and China, and the World Trade Organisation.
In her address, China’s Ambassador to Guyana, Guo Haiyan paid tribute to Guyana-China relations. Guyana has been the recipient of several firsts when it comes to China’s overtures to the Region, such as in 1993 when Guyana was the first recipient of the first medical team sent by the Chinese Government to Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC).
“In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Guyana have offered each other a helping hand and overcome together. Guyana is also the first country in the English-speaking Caribbean receiving the donated vaccines from China.
“Since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Guyana has firmly adhered to the one China principle. And China has also firmly supported Guyana in pursuing an independent development path that is in line with its own national conditions,” the Ambassador said.
During the 50th anniversary celebration, a commemorative stamp was also unveiled. It was only last week that the Chinese Embassy launched an online photo exhibition displaying numerous interactions between the two countries over half a century in commemoration of the anniversary.
The Chinese Embassy also launched a Film Festival, which kicked off on June 22 with an exclusive screening at MovieTowne. According to the Ambassador at the time, a film festival was ideal for the continued celebrations as it showcases the Chinese culture and national spirit that she believes enhances mutual understanding for people of different cultures.
Diplomatic relations between Guyana and the People’s Republic of China were formalised on June 27, 1972, making Guyana the first English-speaking Caribbean State to forge diplomatic ties with China and set up its embassy there.
Over the years, agreements such as the joint commission of trade signing, the 2001 trade agreement, the 2003 investment agreement, and the 2018 Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on the Belt and Road Initiative have strengthened the economic relations between the two countries.
Bilateral cooperation between the two countries has also resulted in Guyana benefiting from the services of Chinese medical doctors and technicians, donations of equipment to the health sector, the educational work of the Confucius Institute, the support given to the Bertram Collins College of the Public Service, the donation of scientific equipment to the tune of $50 million to the Cyril Potter College of Education and the donation of vehicles and other equipment to the Guyana Police Force and the Guyana Defence Force.
When it comes to infrastructural support, China has provided funding through the EXIM (Export-Import) Bank of China for the expansion and renovation of the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA) and the widening of the East Coast Demerara Public Road. (G3)