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…Chinese president tells Ali during telephone conversation
Just over a month after Guyana angered China by attempting to allow the opening up of a Taiwanese embassy here Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday that Beijing and Guyana should take the 50th anniversary of their diplomatic ties next year as an opportunity to push for more cooperation results and lift bilateral relations to higher levels.
In a telephone conversation with Guyanese President Irfaan Ali, Xi suggested that the two countries earnestly respect and accommodate each other’s core interests and major concerns, promote Belt and Road cooperation, and expand win-win collaboration in such areas as energy and infrastructure, CGTN reported.
China and Guyana, though far apart, enjoy a deep and close friendship, Xi noted. The two countries have achieved fruitful results in bilateral cooperation in various fields since they established diplomatic relations, Xi said, adding that two-way trade increased last year despite the COVID-19 pandemic, demonstrating huge potential.
Both countries are standing at an important stage of development and facing broad prospects and great opportunities, Xi added. China stands ready to strengthen cooperation with Guyana in COVID-19 vaccines and continue to provide assistance and support within its capacity for Guyana’s economic and social development, Xi said.
Xi stressed that both China and Guyana are developing countries and have similar positions on a series of international and regional issues. The two sides should strengthen collaboration in issues related to the United Nations and climate change, so as to foster a more fair and equitable reform of international systems. Xi said China expects a positive role of Guyana in promoting cooperation between China and Caribbean countries as a whole, as well as in developing the relationship between China and the Caribbean Community.
For his part, Ali said that together with leaders of major political parties and ministers of Guyana, he held the telephone conversation with President Xi to express appreciation for China’s generous assistance to Guyana in its fight against the pandemic, and for China’s leading role in a series of global issues.
Guyana-China friendship is strong and firm, Ali said, noting that Guyana firmly abides by the one-China principle, regards China as the most important cooperative partner in its national development, and is committed to strengthening relations between the two parties and two countries. Guyana expects to actively promote the Belt and Road cooperation with China, and strengthen cooperation in infrastructure and other fields, he said, adding that he believes Guyana-China relations will become much better. Guyana supports and stands ready to actively promote the development of relations between the Caribbean Community and China, said the Guyanese president.
Ali was joined at the meeting with Vice President Bharrat Jagdeo, Minister within the Office of the President with responsibility for Finance, Dr Ashni Singh, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Hugh Todd, and the Minister of Public Works, Juan Edghill.
Back in February the United States had applauded Ali’s Government for its agreement to recognise Taiwan moving a way from its decades-old policy of embracing the One-China policy. In a statement back then the US Embassy here said that Taiwan will establish a Taiwan Office in Guyana. “Deepening ties between Guyana and Taiwan will advance their shared goals of prosperity and security. Closer ties with Taiwan will advance cooperation and development in Guyana on the basis of shared democratic values, transparency, and mutual respect.” However, soon after the news hit the media, Guyana backpedalled first saying that the agreement was to facilitate trade and not a diplomatic recognition. The government would later rescind the agreement with Taiwan following mounting pressure locally as well as the Chinese Embassy.
On February 4, 2021 more media agencies locally and internationally picked up the information adding to it that Taiwan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Joanne Ou, that day held a press conference announcing that it had reached an agreement with Guyana. She held up a map of Guyana as a means of explaining where the country is located. Later that day, China joined the conversation. According to CNN, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman, Wang Wenbin responded to the move by saying Beijing hoped Guyana would not engage in official ties with Taiwan, calling on the country to “earnestly take steps to correct their mistake.”
It was there after Guyana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs abruptly announced the termination of the agreement and its loyalty to China and the One-China policy. Over the years, Beijing has poured billions in aid to Guyana with some 20,000 doses of COVID-19 vaccines pledged recently to the country.