Nation marks 40 years of diplomatic ties with China

Premier of China Li Keqiang (Photo courtesy Wikipedia)
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Antigua and Barbuda marked 40 years of diplomatic relations with China on January 1.

To mark the occasion, there were exchanges in messages of congratulations dispatched from both St John’s and Beijing to senior officials of the two governments expressing a continued desire for the strong relationship to further deepen and strengthen.

“The establishment of diplomatic relations between our two countries on January 1 1983 was intended to mark a new beginning between the most populous state in the world, and the smallest sovereign state in existence then,” Prime Minister Gaston Browne wrote in a letter to Premier Li Keqiang.

Browne noted that Antigua and Barbuda has received significant cooperation through grants and soft loans from China over the years.

“A friendship bridge which connects the south of Antigua with the northern half during floods and downpours marked the start of our friendship. Most recently, a modern airport terminal, a rebuilt and enlarged cargo port, and a planned housing project continue to characterise the relations between our states,” he added.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chet Greene said the observance of 40 years of diplomatic ties provides an opportunity for reflection on the achievements of the past four decades.

“The People’s Republic of China has played a significant role in the promotion of our national development and has been a generous provider of technical support in various fields, which has resulted in quantifiable benefits for the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” he said.

“In 2017 when Hurricane Irma ravaged through the nation of Barbuda, the People’s Republic of China offered humanitarian aid to assist the residents in this dire time of need. Your steadfast commitment to ensuring the safety of the people of Antigua and Barbuda has and will continue to be highly appreciated.”

The anniversary will be marked by an official flag-raising ceremony on the grounds of the Office of the Prime Minister at a date to be announced.

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