China has given an undertaking to assist Grenada in formulating a strategic plan for its development.
Resident Chinese ambassador, Dr. Zhao Yongchen gave the commitment at a ceremony held by the Chinese Embassy at the Radisson Crown Ball Room last Wednesday to mark the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China (PRC).
The ceremony was attended by high-level government officials, as well as members of the Royal Grenada Police Force (RGPF) and 100 personnel from the Chinese Ark Peace that was making its second voyage to Grenada to render medical assistance to locals.
Ambassador Zhao stated that over the last 69 years China has developed tremendously and that 2018 was one of its best years, as the economic growth rate of the world’s second major superpower had reached 6.8% in the first half this year and is expected to achieve medium-high growth throughout the year.
He referred to China and Grenada as both developing countries that face “similar development situation and tasks and broad common interests”.
“We look forward to working with Grenada to jointly implement the fruit of the MOU (Memorandum of Understanding) on Belt and Road Initiative, to further enhance mutual trust, expand exchanges and promote China-Grenada relations to a new high…”, he said.
Many experts see the Belt and Road Initiative being promoted by China as the main platform to be used by the Far East country to challenge the world hegemony of the United States for global influence around the world.
According to the Chinese envoy, Beijing is “willing to share the successful experience of China’s development and help Grenada to formulate a strategic plan for national economic and social development”.
“We are delighted to see Grenada playing a more constructive role in the Latin American and Caribbean regional affairs to make due contribution to the formulation of a new international order”, he said.
“We are ready to work closely with the Government and people of Grenada to build a community with shared future of mankind, move toward a new type of international relations, and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity”, he added.
Speaking on behalf of the Grenada government at the celebration, Foreign Affairs Minister, Peter David noted that China pursues a foreign policy based on peaceful co-existence and promoting International Co-operation for a harmonious world.
He backed the statement by pointing at the arrival of the Ark Peace, a Chinese medical military ship.
Minister David said: “In Grenada we have experienced first-hand and is experiencing as we speak the first of this noble ideal to promote peace, the presence of the Ark Peace, the People’s Liberation Army medical mission to Grenada.
“I want to on behalf of all of the people of Grenada, Carriacou and Petite Martinique, thank you General (Guan Bailin) for coming to Grenada for the second time and for ensuring that thousands of people receive medical care.
“There can be no price or characterisation for the significant impact the mission of the Ark Peace make, especially in our parts of the world…”.
Minister David recalled that since the resumption of diplomatic relations in 2005 between China and Grenada, St. George’s has benefitted tremendously from assistance from its much richer counterpart.
“I can say with confidence that the relation between our governments and peoples have been fruitful in many respects and continues to be a hallmark decision.
“The strength and stability of our engagement is evident in the many technical and high-level visits, numerous co-operation programmes, education, housing, health care, agriculture, sports, and the various people to people exchanges that have been undertaken thus far.
Commander of the Ark Peace, General Guan Bailin, spoke of the deepening of the relationship between the PRC and Grenada given the second visit of the Ark Peace to the island.
He said, “This is our second visit to Grenada, which is a reassurance of our brotherhood and renewal of our friendship. This visit will be another sweet memory of our bilateral relationship as the first one in 3 years.
“At present, the hospital has already started work and… in the following days, our medical service will go further into community, hospital, prison, outlying islands to promote mutual understanding, strengthen our traditional friendship, and that will make new contributions to China-Grenada relationship.”
The ruling New National Party (NNP) of Prime Minister Dr. Keith Mitchell took the decision in late 2004 to break diplomatic relations with Taiwan in favour of China that offered a lucrative package in the aftermath of Hurricane Ivan in September of the same year which caused widespread devastation to the island.
The island was split on the move in light of the millions of dollars that were pumped into the Grenadian economy by Taipei as part of its battle with Mainland China for diplomatic recognition around the world.