China has unveiled a new $1 billion loan facility for Caribbean countries. This is apart from its pledges of investments and technical assistance to support development in the region.
The announcement was made by China’s vice premier Wang Qishan during the third China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation forum held in the Port of Spain, where the country also signed a treaty on agricultural and fisheries cooperation with Caribbean countries Sept. 13.
Wang also announced China will provide $1 million to the Caribbean Development Fund, help construct an early warning earthquake and tsunami system in the region, and provide disaster training. China will provide training and education opportunities for Caribbean citizens as well.
This is not the first time China will be investing in the region. In Bahamas, for instance, China’s past investments are reported to have reached $2.66 billion. These include the construction of a national stadium, several infrastructure projects and a resort project where Chinese investors reportedly had an outlay of more than $2 billion.
China also has existing agricultural agreements with Guyana, Cuba, the Bahamas and Barbados. It is currently working on signing similar agreements with Suriname and Jamaica.
China’s bilateral agreements with these countries, however, are perceived as a way to gather support for its One-China policy in the United Nations.
According to Bahamas foreign minister Brent Symonette, for instance, supporting the Chinese policy in the U.N. could help ensure the country would receive the greatest possible benefit from China.
He also said many Caribbean countries support China in the same way.
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