COVID crisis shows China as a reliable ally, refuting Western mistrust narrative: Dominica Republic politician
A model to LatAm
Published: Aug 08, 2022 09:18 PM
Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

Editor's Note:

As the world grapples with unilateralism-induced crises that have threatened global peace, China continues to be a shining example on the international stage, injecting a stable, developmental and cooperative momentum. Over the last decade, China, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), has achieved great success in record time, hitherto unseen in world history, including lifting nearly 100 million people out of absolute poverty, the unreserved promotion of multilateralism, and the adoption of a win-win development strategy among countries. In this series, the Global Times will interview diplomats from various countries to get their views on China's development and what it means for the world as a whole. 

In this installment, Global Times reporter interviewed Manolo Pichardo, secretary of international relations of Fuerza del Pueblo (People's Force Party) of Dominican Republic.

Manolo Pichardo Photo: Courtesy of Pichardo

Manolo Pichardo Photo: Courtesy of Pichardo

The diplomatic wisdom and policies of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and Chinese President Xi Jinping have led China to realize the miracle of development in the last decade. Competing interests and versions of hegemonic discourse constructed and perpetuated by the West in Latin America and the Caribbean aren't in accordance with the interests of the Dominican Republic and the values of inclusiveness and openness, Manolo Pichardo, secretary of international relations with Fuerza del Pueblo (People's Force Party) of the Dominican Republic, told the Global Times in a recent interview. 

He said that the mistrust fueled by the Western narrative was diluted because China, a powerful trading partner, treats countries in the region with respect.

Impressive progress under leadership of Xi

"There is no doubt that under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, China has consolidated its dizzying progress toward the economic development and the well-being of its people, skillfully overcoming crises, such as the trade war unleashed by former US president Donald Trump and the pandemic. For me, these were challenges that gave President Xi the opportunity to position himself as a great strategist," said Pichardo.

"Xi gave timely responses through intelligent diplomacy that has not taken on provocations but has been able to defend the interests of the Chinese people firmly and without hesitation, which has earned him the confidence of his people who, moreover, enjoy better living conditions, the realization of the strategic plan to build a moderately prosperous society," he noted. 

This has led the Chinese people to trust and support President Xi and the entire leadership of the CPC, which has obviously contributed to the governance of the country, Pichardo said.

In his six previous visits to China consisting of four to the Chinese mainland and two to the island of Taiwan, Pichardo was impressed by the extraordinary expansion of Chinese infrastructural works, the modernization of various industries, and other technological advancements. 

"I remember when I first visited China, the country lagged behind the United States in terms of patent registration. By 2019 China had exceeded the US' requests by over a thousand [patent registrations]," said Pichardo.

Pichardo told the Global Times that Xi's writings delivering his governance policies, wisdom, and philosophies also circulate among political, business, and media sectors in the Dominican Republic, the largest economy in Central America, as more are interested in learning from Xi's ideas and strategies in leading China's development to achieving phenomenal results in record time.

China a reliable ally with respect 

"There will always be a scenario of competition and fearmongering instigated by some countries that see our region as their 'property' and China as an 'intruding nation' to instill fears. For more than 500 years, Latin America and the Caribbean were exclusive spaces for obscenely unequal trade that turned into dispossession; a dispossession that they do not want to part with. That is why the narrative against China's presence in our region does not fit into our current worldview. Our leadership has to be more outward-facing, it has to be open-minded, and completely emancipated as we bet on proceeding complementary results," Pichardo stressed.

"The mistrust fueled by the Western narrative was dispelled because a powerful trading partner appeared in the region and began to treat us with respect, without the colonizing European gunboats, nor the punitive Americans who would reward perceived disobedience with inhumane corporal punishment," he said.

In the Caribbean and all of Latin America, a political and business leadership is emerging that understands the changes that are taking place in the world; it is a leadership that seeks to advance in the midst of a multipolar world in which new alliances become a space for investment, cooperation, technology transfer, and the opportunities that arise from these realities to achieve development, Pichardo argued.

Promising bilateral ties

In a telephone conversation on June 2, 2021 with President of the Dominican Republic Luis Abinader, President Xi said that China stands ready to work with the Dominican Republic to steer their relationship toward greater development and continuously lift it to even higher levels. 

Since China and the Dominican Republic signed a joint communiqué on the establishment of diplomatic relations on May 1, 2018, Pichardo was impressed by the tangible benefits the Dominican Republic has received from "a considerable increase in trade between the two countries."

The Dominican Republic is China's largest trading partner in the Caribbean, and China is the Caribbean country's second-largest trading partner and second-largest source of imports. There is still room for growth in bilateral trade, according to data from China's Ministry of Commerce in 2021.

A relationship of trust was founded upon the inception of diplomatic ties as exchanges in culture, education, commerce, and many other sectors rapidly grew, and Dominicans "see China a closer friend," said Pichardo.

"I think that there is a complementary relationship between China and our region that allows us to combine scientific and technological development, manufactured products from both sides with raw materials, as well as the tourism, culture, and services industries," noted Pichardo. 

He believes there is an immense potential for commercial and economic cooperation that strengthens the necessary South-South relationship. 

Pichardo recognized China's supports for Dominican people especially during the COVID-19 pandemic when the "Dominican Republic's traditional partners expressly refused to share their vaccines to combat the virus."

China opened its arms to local people and made millions of doses available so that they could face the distressing health calamity, he said.

"Honestly, trust in the relationship did not exist to the degree it does today at the very beginning, but cooperation in the crisis has allowed our leaders and peoples to come closer. It created the basis for trust that will allow us to strengthen ties and open mutually beneficial doors, to the exploration of businesses that have shared profit as a principle. That is part of President Xi's philosophy, from which various shared points of interest with allies are addressed, in a mutually respectful and diplomatic way," said Pichardo.