By Ava Turnquest
Tribune Chief Reporter
CHINESE Chargé d’Affaires Haigang Yin yesterday called on the United States government to contribute more to the development of the region instead of politicising economic and trade issues.
Mr Yin insisted China’s economic co-operation in the Caribbean and Latin America was on equal-footing, and suggested other countries were seeking to capitalise on geopolitics.
He was responding to a scathing critique of China’s investment in the Caribbean from US Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs Kimberly Breier at the 8th Caribbean-US Security Cooperation Dialogue last week.
Ms Breier accused China of not following international best practices, and furthered its “opaque methods have enabled corruption, eroded good governance and stolen countries’ sovereignty and national resources”.
Yesterday, Mr Yin pointed to the bilateral cooperation between China and The Bahamas as a good example of the benefits of China-Caribbean cooperation.
“Our cooperation follows the principle of equality, mutual benefit and win-win results and does not target any third party,” he said in a statement.
“China never capitalises on geopolitics, seeks an exclusive club, forces others to buy or sell condescendingly or frequently threatens other countries with a trade war. The facts have proven that our cooperation meets the common interests and expectations of the two sides and focuses on common development and the outcomes are mutually beneficial.
“We hope that certain people from the United States can respect the fact and the will of the Latin American countries, view China’s cooperation with the Latin American countries in an objective way and contribute more to the development of Latin American countries instead of indiscriminately pinning labels on others, still less politicising the economic and trade issues,” he also said.
During her remarks last week, Ms Breier described the establishment of Confucius Institutes throughout the region as the spread of Chinese Communist party propaganda, and further raised concerns over cyber security with the acquisition of 5G technology in the Caribbean.
Mr Yin noted Chinese universities have forged partnerships with institutions around the world to set up Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms on a voluntary basis for more than a decade.
He accused some US politicians of arbitrarily politicising the programme for normal cultural and educational exchange.
“We hope those people can put in perspective the important role the Confucius Institutes play in promoting mutual understanding between the Chinese and the Caribbean peoples, and take into consideration the needs of the Caribbean people, including students, teachers and parents, to learn the Chinese language and get a better understanding of the Chinese culture, instead of arbitrarily politicising the exchange and the Confucius Institutes.”
As for concerns over 5G technology, Mr Yin said it was “ridiculous” to obstruct the normal operations of business over unfounded speculation.
“We have noted some people in certain countries have been saying that Chinese technologies ‘may’ pose threats to their national security,” he said, “but none of them have yet to produce any convincing evidence on how their national security has been affected.
“Chinese laws and regulations never give any institution the mandate to force companies to build ‘mandatory back doors’ to collect data. The Chinese government always encourages Chinese enterprises to follow international rules and abide by local laws when conducting economic cooperation with other countries.”
Mr Yin added: “We also hope that relevant countries can provide a fair, transparent and unbiased environment for Chinese enterprises and refrain from setting up unnecessary obstacles for the normal operation of Chinese businesses out of other motives.”