Relations between China and Trinidad and Tobago have been made stronger with the setting up of a Trinidad and Tobago Embassy in China, acting Foreign Minister Dr Roodal Moonilal has said.
"This has resulted in several initiatives in tourism, training, culture and the recent involvement with the Chinese Liberation Army during the 50th anniversary celebrations," Moonilal said on Saturday evening.
He was speaking at a reception hosted by Chinese Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Yang Youming at the Hilton Trinidad and Conference Centre, St Ann's. China celebrates 63 years since the founding of the People' Republic of China on October 1.
In his address, Yang said the trade and economic relations between China and Trinidad and Tobago continue to strengthen, as the six-measure proposal at last year's Trade Cooperation meeting in Port of Spain continues to be encouraging. "The trade volume between China and Trinidad and Tobago surpassed the US$400 million last year, putting Trinidad and Tobago on the surplus for the first time in history," he said.
In the area of cultural cooperation, he announced the selection of Anya Reyes to travel to China to enroll at the Beijing School of Dance. This initiative is a joint venture between the Embassy and the Chinese Association of Trinidad and Tobago.
Yang also outlined some of the positive measures embarked upon by China since 1978, when the open policy was adopted. The result was that China became the second largest economy in the world.
Due to improvements in living standards, life expectancy of its people has reached 74.85 years of age. "That is a remarkable achievement and it all has to do with the living standards afforded to its 1.3 billion citizens," Yang said.
He said in spite of such achievements, "China still has a long way to go, even as it faces many challenges, including a sustainable development, to ensure equal distribution of its wealth measures to maintain the territorial integrity of the country."
Speaking briefly on international relations with Japan over the Philippine island of Diaoyo, Yang said, "This island is an integral part of Chinese territory. The disputes have not started with China, but the government was merely reacting to defend our sovereignty and territorial integrity."
He emphasised China continues to pursue an independent and peaceful foreign policy of peace and will not waver an inch from its firm position.