The Peoples’ Republic of China has opened its embassy on Marble Hill in Antigua and Barbuda, just about forty years after both countries established diplomatic relations.
The historic move, according to Prime Minister Gaston Browne is significant, given the robust and beneficial relationship shared between both countries.
“You would note that in all aspects of our relationship, we have been promoting next level development…and I believe this celebration should signal a new ethos of development, a new ethos of cooperation between both our countries,” Browne said.
He said China has been a significant development partner with Antigua and Barbuda throughout the years and has been beneficial to both countries, more so, the twin island state.
Browne also mentioned that the friendly and diplomatic relationship with China has yielded several developmental projects including the construction of the new V.C Bird International Airport Terminal, The Vivian Richards Stadium, and the expansion and modernization of the Cargo Port.
China, he said has made significant contributions to the educational landscape of the country through scholarships and training.
“We have 72 Antiguans and Barbudans studying in China and they just approved another 20, so that figure will now increase to 92…They gifted us the Five Islands facility that gave us a competitive advantage above and beyond the other OECS countries vying for the fourth landed Campus of the University of the West Indies,” Browne added.
He said China has also invested in Agriculture, the Multipurpose Cultural, and Exhibition Center, along with adding to the country’s housing revolution with a multi-million dollar grant for the Booby Alley Housing Project.
Meanwhile Foreign Affairs Minister E. P Chet Green says the friendship with the government and people of China has been growing from strength to strength for many years providing tangible benefits in areas such as education agriculture, economic and trade cooperation in culture, health, utilities, and the military.
“The students at the Sir Novelle Richards Academy are beneficiaries of annual Awards for Excellence in the Chinese language, while government officials can access short-term training courses, focusing on E-government service, blue economy, and agriculture cooperation,” Green said
He said the friendship between the two countries is also built on the principles of equality, mutual benefit, and respect for each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. With a shared vision for the prosperity of our two nations, Antigua and Barbuda and China will continue to nurture our diplomatic relations.
“Antigua and Barbuda welcome the People’s Republic of China’s approach to diplomacy and its all-embracing way of engaging us as equal partners with a shared vision for the world. Next month Antigua and Barbuda will be celebrating 40 years of diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China. 40 years of a productive and respectful partnership of alliance building and solidarity for the eradication of poverty and the promotion of economic growth”, he said.
“My government remains committed to the ‘One China Policy’, that there is only one sovereign state, the People’s Republic of China serving as the sole legitimate government of that China, and Taiwan is a part of China,” according to Greene.
He said Antigua and Barbuda will continue to collaborate with China on critical issues of mutual interest within our bilateral relations and to ensure that the principles enshrined within the charter of this august body are kept, ensuring peace and goodwill among the many nations of the globe.
“So as we gather here to witness the opening of this diplomatic Chancery the bilateral relations between our two countries have remained robust going forward for another 40 years. The building and operation of this Chancery will serve to take our diplomatic relations to another level, signaling that Antigua and Barbuda will be a new hub for diplomatic engagement within the OECS and wider Caribbean,” he added.
Governor General Sir Rodney Williams also addressed today’s function, recalling that the twin-island nation became the first island in the Caribbean.
“I believe that the consistency of Antigua and Barbuda’s commitment to this bilateral relationship regardless of the changing political winds and alternative offerings, contributing to the decision of China, to make our twin island nation their regional diplomatic headquarters,” he said
The Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China Zhang Yanling delivered remarks at the event.
Cabinet members and other dignitaries also attended the opening of the new embassy.
Antigua and Barbuda and China established diplomatic relations on January 01, 1983.