By H.E. Huang QinguoAmbassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas
WITH the successful conclusion of the well-known “Two Sessions” of China (annual legislative and political advisory sessions) on March 20, the great cause of socialism with Chinese characteristics in the new era inaugurated a new journey.
During the historic “Two Sessions”, the amended Constitution was adopted and the policies and objectives of China for the new era established by the 19th CPC National Congress were incorporated into the Constitution. The new leadership of China was elected and President Xi Jinping was elected as Chinese president and chairman of the Central Military Commission, which was a full reflection of the wholehearted support of the Chinese people.
The “Two Sessions” approved the plan for a new round of structural reform of the government departments, which would reach unprecedented range and scope. The “Two Sessions” passed the Supervision Law and set up the National Supervisory Commission, which would extend the coverage of supervision to all civil servant.
In general, the 2018 “Two Sessions” of China has not only demonstrated China’s confidence in marching toward the realisation of its great dream of national rejuvenation, but also showed China’s open mind and readiness in shouldering its responsibilities in building a community of shared future for mankind.
As an important country in the Caribbean region, The Bahamas has advantages in terms of geography and natural resources. Over the past 20 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, China-Bahamas friendship and co-operation have made considerable progress, with bilateral mutual political trust strengthened, economic and trade cooperation deepened and cultural exchanges enhanced.
China-Bahamas trade co-operation has become closer and closer and the Bahamian delegation attends the Canton Fair every year. Remarkable achievement has been made in carrying out major joint projects.
The Baha Mar project has opened successfully and attracted a large number of tourists, created thousands of jobs and contributed to the economic growth of the Bahamas.
The Thomas Robinson National Stadium, built by China, has boosted Bahamas’ capability in hosting international sports events and other important activities. With China’s assistance, the Nassau Airport Expressway and North Abaco Port Project have updated the infrastructure of The Bahamas.
Lately, Dr Hubert Minnis, prime minister of The Bahamas, delivered a national address and elaborated the policies and measures of the new government in promoting economy, improving livelihood and upgrading government management. I wish the implementation of these policies will effectively promote the social and economic development of The Bahamas and at the same time, create more space and potential for our future co-operation between China and The Bahamas.
Firstly, we should continue to deepen political mutual trust and enhance co-ordination and co-operation in global and regional affairs. Although China and The Bahamas are separated by vast oceans and have different social systems, cultural backgrounds and national conditions, the two countries are both developing countries following similar development concepts and sharing extensive common interests.
China is willing to further enhance high-level visits and exchanges between our governments, legislatures and political parties, and to exchange governance experiences with each other. We should upgrade co-operation mode under the existing framework like China-CELAC Forum.
We should continue to support each other on major issues of common concern and strengthen political mutual trust, which will as always serve as the foundation of our bilateral relations. The two sides should enhance communication and coordination on issues including global economic governance, climate change and China-CELAC cooperation, so as to jointly build a harmonious and mutually beneficial community of common interests.
Secondly, we should advance economic and trade cooperation and expand our cooperation to new fields. The economic structure of China and The Bahamas are complementary and the space for future cooperation is enormous.
On the basis of the outcome of the Second Ministerial Meeting of China-CELAC Forum and the platform of the Belt & Road Initiative, China is willing to deepen its co-operation with The Bahamas in areas such as infrastructure, information technology, agriculture and new energy, and expand bilateral trade and financial cooperation
In November 2018, the Chinese government will host the first China International Import Expo. We are glad that the government of The Bahamas and the Chamber of Commerce of The Bahamas will participate in the expo. This expo will not only facilitate our economic and trade cooperation, but also provide a good opportunity for The Bahamas to demonstrate its national image and advantages on this international platform.
Thirdly, we should deepen people to people exchanges and promote our cooperation in the areas of culture, education, science and technology. As the ancient Chinese saying goes, “Amity between people holds the key to sound relations between states.”
Friendly relations of our two countries are built on the basis of deepening people to people exchanges. In order to enhance understanding and friendship between the two peoples, the Chinese government is willing to provide more scholarships and training opportunities to Bahamians, support exchange and cooperation between think-tanks, academic institutions, experts and scholars, and encourage the exchange of visits of cultural, educational and art groups.
In the year of 2018, in responding to the demand of the Bahamian government, the Chinese government will hold training programmes in The Bahamas for the first time on themes of SMEs (small and medium enterprises) management and agro-processing. The draft agreement on air services between the two countries has been approved by both competent government authorities and is expected to be signed officially within this year. The direct flight between China and the Bahamas will greatly facilitate the exchange of our two peoples and inject new vitality to the tourism of the Bahamas.
I believe, with joint efforts of both sides, the co-operation between China and The Bahamas will certainly enjoy a brighter future, bring about more fruitful outcome and our bilateral relations will be elevated to a new level.