On December 16, 2020, China and the Caribbean countries having diplomatic relations with China held the second special vice-ministerial meeting on COVID-19 via video link. Representatives from China and nine Caribbean countries including Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago and Jamaica attended the meeting. Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang and Kenneth Darroux, Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations of the Commonwealth of Dominica, co-chaired the special meeting. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of the Commonwealth of Dominica, attended and addressed the meeting.
Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang spoke highly of the anti-pandemic cooperation between China and the nine Caribbean countries since the first special meeting in May. China has delivered on its commitments, having handed over all the promised medical supplies, and shared its experience with Caribbean health experts via video link. Upholding the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind, China will live up to its commitment to make the COVID-19 vaccines a global public good, while supporting Caribbean countries’ efforts to contain the pandemic, recover the economy, and to cope with climate change challenges.
Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit congratulated everyone on the convening of the special meeting and expressed his thanks to China for providing support and assistance to Dominica and other Caribbean countries, and his hopes for enhanced communication and cooperation in various areas. Foreign Minister Darroux, on behalf of the nine Caribbean countries, reaffirmed their commitment to the one China principle and expressed their intent to strengthen coordination in international affairs. Other participating representatives commended China’s prevention and control of the pandemic while scoring marked achievements in economic and social development. They wish to carry out cooperation with China in the research and development and use of vaccines, as well as in trade, investment, infrastructure development and e-commerce. Joint efforts will be made to tackle climate change and maintain multilateralism and international fairness and justice, bringing the friendly and cooperative relations between China and Caribbean countries to a new level.
Following is the full text of the press release issued after the meeting.
The Second Special Vice-Ministerial Meeting Among China and The Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China on COVID-19 was held via video conference on 16 December 2020. Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang of the People’s Republic of China and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations Kenneth Darroux of the Commonwealth of Dominica co-chaired the Meeting. Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit of the Commonwealth of Dominica attended the opening session of the Meeting and delivered remarks.
The Caribbean countries represented at the Meeting were Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Barbados, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, the Republic of Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
- All sides reviewed the important progress made in cooperation against COVID-19 since the First Special Vice-Ministerial Meeting Among China and The Caribbean Countries having diplomatic relations with China on COVID-19 held on 12 May 2020, and shared the view that their comprehensive and cooperative partnership of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development has been deepened.
- The Caribbean countries applauded China’s major strategic achievements in coordinating COVID-19 response and economic and social development, and expressed appreciation for China’s support to the Caribbean countries in combating the virus. China commended the Caribbean countries for taking active and effective measures to control the disease at home, and expressed appreciation for their invaluable support to China’s containment efforts.
- All sides reaffirmed their commitment to the UN-centered international system and the international order based on international law, applauded the adoption of the resolution on comprehensive and coordinated response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Pandemic by the 74th session of the UN General Assembly which highlighted the importance of solidarity and cooperation in this trying time. All sides called on the international community to work together to contain the virus, protect people’s safety, health and well-being, minimize the political, economic and social impact of the pandemic on the world, and continue to implement the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
- All sides fully recognized the leadership role of the World Health Organization in coordinating the global response to COVID-19, reaffirmed their opposition to any politicization, stigmatization and name-calling associated with the virus, and agreed on deepening bilateral cooperation and multilateral coordination in containing the virus. China reaffirmed its commitment to make the development and deployment of COVID-19 vaccine, once available, a global public good, as part of its contribution to vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries, including the Caribbean countries.
- All sides called for efforts to defend the WTO-centered multilateral trading regime that is rules-based, transparent, open, fair, inclusive and non-discriminatory, keep global industrial and supply chains stable and unclogged, and promote an open world economy. All sides agreed on the importance to strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation and experience sharing on digital economy, and build fair, open and non-discriminatory environment to advance the development of digital economy and global digital governance.
- All sides agreed to act on the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, pursue open, green and clean development, create more synergy between their development strategies, expand practical cooperation within the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative and through other channels, improve infrastructure connectivity, and increase people-to-people and sub-national exchanges, with a view to achieving common development.
- China expressed understanding for the dual challenges of COVID-19 and climate change faced by the Caribbean countries, and willingness to provide continued assistance to the best of its ability. All sides called on the international community to provide more material, technological, financial and humanitarian support to the Caribbean countries to help them achieve independent and sustainable development.