Win-win time for Sino-Latin American ties
2019/09/06

On September 6, H.E. Lu Kun, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Commonwealth of Dominica published a signed article on China Daily Global Edition.

The full text is as follows: 

On Sept 6, a handover ceremony will take place for a China-aided hospital in the Commonwealth of Dominica. At the same event, advanced equipment provided by China, such as HIFU (high intensity focused ultrasound) and MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging), will be put into use. The Dominican government has decided to name it the Dominica-China Friendship Hospital, in tribute to China's contribution to the development of medical treatment and public healthcare in Dominica.

Dominica, a Caribbean island country of 70,000 inhabitants, is far from China and also differs greatly from China in terms of size, economy and social systems.

However, since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 2004, relations between the two countries have developed well, seeing enhanced political mutual trust, economic and trade cooperation, cultural exchanges and people-to-people communication. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties. Leaders and foreign ministers of both countries have exchanged congratulatory messages. Also, a series of events, such as China-Dominica Friendship Day and A Taste of China, featuring Chinese cuisine, have been promoted at the Chinese embassy in Dominica.

Four characteristics of the ties between China and Dominica stand out.

The first is equality. China always upholds the principle of equality among countries, whether they be big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor. China also opposes the strong bullying the weak. After establishing diplomatic ties, China and Dominica developed their ties on the foundation of mutual respect, equality and noninterference.

It is also important to keep one's word. Over the past 15 years, China has kept its promise by helping build the Windsor Park Stadium, the New Town Primary School and the York Valley Bridge. In 2017, when Dominica was devastated by Hurricane Maria, China launched the Roof Restoration Project to help the country. It also promoted construction of roads and resettlement houses and the expansion and rebuilding of hospitals, thus playing a great role in Dominica's reconstruction.

China has also stood with Dominica in its ambition to build the first climate resilient country in the world.

Dominica has undergone significant changes after aid from China helped it build the State House, stadium, new hospital and the West Coast Road.

Of course, this assistance is only part of the development of bilateral ties, not to forget China's international responsibility as the world's largest developing country.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties, Dominica has firmly stuck to the one-China principle, refraining from official or unofficial exchanges with Taiwan. It also works closely with China in international affairs and supports China playing a bigger role in global governance.

People-to-people exchanges always help bridge two countries culturally. China has provided government scholarships to over 150 Dominican students, many of whom have grown into the backbone of economic and social development in Dominica.

China also offers short-term skills training courses for professionals from Dominica. Many Chinese experts in the field of agriculture and medical treatment have been sent to Dominica for technical cooperation. Last year, the Chinese navy hospital ship Peace Ark visited Dominica for the first time and provided free medical services and humanitarian assistance to over 5,000 people. In addition, Dominican representatives have been invited to China to participate in activities such as art festivals. The incoming Confucius classrooms at the Dominica State College will also help promote closer people-to-people exchanges.

There is an old saying in China - a just cause enjoys abundant support while an unjust one finds little support. It is because China upholds correct and just values that its relations with Dominica have developed, gaining the trust and support of Dominica.
 
Dominican Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has expressed his appreciation of friendship between the two countries on several public occasions.

In recent years, some Western countries have tried to smear China's foreign aid policy, but Skerrit defended it by insisting that no measures taken by China to help Dominica's development were accompanied by improper demands. Last month, when typhoon Lekima hit China's eastern coastal provinces and cities, causing severe damage to many areas, Skerrit and Alix Boyd Knights, speaker of the Parliament, as well as officials from the foreign ministry were among the first to express concerns, showing deep friendship between the two countries.

Developing Sino-Dominican relations is not just the wish of the respective governments, but also the expectation of many ordinary people. Each time, on my way to the airport during business trips, many residents wave enthusiastically when they see cars with Chinese flags. Many people even say hello to me in Chinese.

A member of a Chinese aid project team who once got lost approached local security personnel for assistance. When told that the Chinese man was in Dominica for the construction of a new hospital, the Dominican man said: "It is my pleasure to help you." He then drove the Chinese man to his destination.

Sino-Dominican relations are only a microcosm of China's relations with Latin American and Caribbean countries. With regard to developing countries, China upholds justice while pursuing shared interests and adheres to mutual respect, equality, mutually beneficial cooperation and common development.

This year marks the fifth anniversary of President Xi Jinping's proposal to build a Sino-LAC community with a shared future. The two sides have worked together to build a new, five-dimensional relationship characterized by sincerity and mutual trust in the political field, win-win cooperation on the economic front, mutual learning and emulation in the cultural sphere, close coordination in international affairs, as well as synergy between China's cooperation with the region as a whole and its bilateral relations with individual regional countries.

At present, China and LAC countries enjoy close cooperation in infrastructure, energy and resources, agriculture, education and medical care. Nineteen countries in the region have signed cooperation memorandums with China on the Belt and Road Initiative. Confucius institutes and classrooms have sprung up all over the region. The development of Sino-LAC relations demonstrates the broad prospect of a community with a shared future for mankind.

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