June 27, 2017, marks the 45th anniversary of the Cooperative Republic of Guyana established diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China. In commemoration of this momentous occasion, the Embassy of Guyana and the Chinese Peoples’ Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC)co-hosted a banquet at the Legendale Hotel in Beijing.
The Cooperative Republic of Guyana was the first country in the Anglophone Caribbean to formally establish diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in 1972. One year later Guyana opened the doors to its Embassy in the capital city of Beijing.
“The past 45 years of friendship and cooperation between our two countries have been firmly grounded in mutual respect, one that is complimented by shared ideals and further enhanced by a common approach to domestic and international issues. Guyana has never changed its principled position and remains committed to a “One China Policy’.” Forty-five years ago our two nations were quick to mutually embrace our common values such as respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in internal affairs, respect for international law, and the maintenance of international peace, security and stability … On this special anniversary, it is appropriate that the Governments and peoples of China and Guyana should merrily celebrate these 45 years of unswerving friendship and solidarity,” remarked His Excellency BayneyKarran, Guyana’s Ambassador to China.
Mr. Zhu Qingqiao, Director General of the Department of Latin America & Caribbean Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China, further reiterated the strong historical ties between the two countries while alluding to the future prospects of Guyana-China relations under the Belt and Road initiative.
“Looking back on history, we are filled with pride, looking to the future, we are full of confidence. With the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation being successfully held in Beijing during May, the spirit of the silk road, featuring peaceful cooperation, openness & inclusiveness, mutual learning and win-win cooperation has extensively struck an empathetic chord with people living in this beloved Latin America & Caribbean region and will bless Sino-Guyana relations with new opportunities of development. We are willing to take the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations as a good opportunity to work hand-in-hand with Guyana, to further enhance political trust, deepen practical cooperation in the field of economy & trade, science & technology and cultural exchange,” remarked Mr Zhu Qingqiao.
The 45th-anniversary celebration was further enhanced by the engagement of the Chinese Peoples’ Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC). This entity is a national organization that engages in people-to-people diplomacy on behalf of the Government of China. The CPAFFC seeks to uphold its Government’s Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistenceboth at the diplomatic and at the grassroots level.
“The past 45 years have witnessed deeper friendship and mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Guyana. Looking into the future, we are willing to make joint efforts with the people from all walks of life in Guyana, to strengthen all-round bilateral cooperation and promote the great cause of China-Guyana affection and affinity to a new stage,” remarked Madame Li Xiaolin, President of the CPAFFC
Although 2017 marks the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties, the relationship between Guyana and China began as early as 1853. Chinese citizens from Guangdong province migrated to Guyana (then British Guiana), to assist with alleviating labour shortages across the country. Many of the descendants of these immigrants became influential members of Guyanese society, such that in 1970, Mr Arthur Chung, a man ofChinese descent, was appointed as Guyana’s first President. He was the first ethnic Chinese to be head of state of a non-Asian country.
Over the years the relationship between the two countries has continued to grow and strengthen. As such, Guyana is committed to redoubling its partnership with China in the international arena, to mitigate the modern scourges of poverty, underdevelopment, inequality, terrorism, transnational organized crime, and, in particular, the effects of climate change.
Guyana has witnessed a series of benefits through its increased cooperation with China politically, economically and culturally. Tangible improvements are being seen in such areas as transportation, infrastructure, information technology, health and security. Guyana has benefitted significantly from increased Chinese investment and the trade volume between both countries has tripled within the last decade. The recent discovery of oil serves to compliment the country’s core industries including forestry, mining, energy, agriculture, construction and manufactured goods. All of these assets continue to make Guyana a lucrative investment destination for Chinese companies.
The two nations remain further committed to a series of wide-ranging initiatives through the China-CELAC Forum, the principal vehicle for China-Caribbean cooperation. Guyana is the only English-speaking Caribbean nation that is located on the South American continent. As such, this country serves as a natural bridge between the Caribbean and South America and is home to the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) headquarters. With China becoming an increasingly more influential partner in the region, it stands to reason that its partnership with Guyana will continue to be one of strategic importance. The future remains bright and both countries will embrace the next 45 years of diplomatic relations with confidence and optimism.