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Remarks by H E. Ambassador SONG Yumin, at the Reception Celebrating the 45th Anniversary of China-Trinidad and Tobago Diplomatic Relations
(June 17, 2019)

Thank you for joining us tonight to celebrate the 45th anniversary of China-Trinidad and Tobago diplomatic relations. Both Governments of the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago attach great importance to the anniversary commemoration producing a full range of activities throughout the year in both our countries. Minister the Honourable Moses, I thank you and your Ministry for co-hosting tonight's celebration, which highlights the series of pertinent activities jointly organized including the culture night tomorrow in NAPA--a blend of Chinese strings and Trinidad and Tobago steel pan music. The Chamber ensemble of China's Hebei Province kindly offers us a preview of some of their programs following the speeches tonight. I would also like to avail myself this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to all our friends, old and new, who have long been committed to and supported the growth of our bilateral relations.

The 45 years epitomized the new chapter of our amicable bilateral relations, but the interactions between our peoples dated back to the first group of Chinese arrived on the beautiful island of Trinidad in 1806. Since then, the people-to-people exchanges have become more and more constant. Trinidad and Tobago was among our brothers who have carried us into the United Nations when it voted in favor for the restoration of all China's lawful rights in 1971.

On June 20, 1974, with extraordinary strategic vision, the leaders of both countries made the historic decision to establish diplomatic relations and ushered in a new era of robust and all-round development of China-Trinidad and Tobago relations.

Over the past 45 years, both sides have always been understanding and accommodating each others core interests and major concerns. The political mutual trust has been deepened. Chinese President Xi Jinping's successful state visit to Trinidad and Tobago in 2013 hailed as a milestone to the new era of the bilateral relations. During this visit, the comprehensive cooperative partnership featuring mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development between China and Caribbean states including Trinidad and Tobago was established. In May 2018, Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley paid an official visit to China and brought about a new momentum to closer friendship and bilateral cooperation in various fields. Trinidad and Tobago leads the way in the Caribbean region in jointly building the Belt and Road to share the win-win outcomes from the Initiative.

As the two economies are highly complementary, our trade ties and cooperation have kept growing. Last year, our annual bilateral trade volume hit 732 million US dollars. Chinese investments and enterprises have gained significant presence here and contributed to the boom of the local business and the well-being of the people. The National Academy for Performing Arts, an exemplar of many alike inter-government projects, has become a landmark of Port of Spain as well as a symbol of our friendship and cooperation.

Our friendship is deeply rooted in the people. Bilateral exchanges in culture, education, tourism, sports and media have been deepened and expanded. The Confucius Institute at the the University of the West Indies St. Augustine campus, annual Chinese Spring Festival celebrations and many other cultural events held by the Chinese community ignite local enthusiasm for Chinese culture. Our friendship and cooperation will run even deeper and wider as port of Spain and Shanghai are becoming sister cities. Two traditional Chinese archway--a gift from Shanghai will be erected in the China Town in Port of Spain soon, as a tribute to the 45th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, a commemoration of the Chinese community contribution and a hallmark building of our Belt and Road cooperation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

This auspicious occasion provides us an opportunity to walk through the 45 years of our friendship and cooperation. These achievements are reached by joint efforts of generations of leaders and people from both our countries. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. Over the past 70 years, especially since China's reform and opening-up, China has made remarkable achievements and gained valuable development experience. China now is in a better position to provide Chinese solutions and Chinese wisdom to world governance.

Standing at this new starting point, China-Trinidad and Tobago relations are presented with unprecedented historic opportunities of further growth. We are committed to promoting political mutual trust, enhancing high-level exchanges. We will further maximize the synergy of development strategies within the Belt and Road framework, expand cooperation at all levels serving the benefits of our two peoples. We will continuously enhance people-to-people amity and cultural exchanges to make bilateral friendship get deeper into the hearts of the people. We will continuously maintain close communication and coordination on major global issues and endeavor to build a new model of international relations and a community of shared future for mankind.

Thank you for your attention. I wish everyone enjoy the rest part of this evening.

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