Political will of the LAC region is safeguarding cooperation with China: Suriname envoy
Published: Aug 08, 2022 09:24 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 Suriname Ambassador to China Patty Chen.

China has achieved great success and the Chinese government's governance capability is just what China needs, Patty Chen, Suriname Ambassador to China, told the Global Times in an exclusive interview. 

Chen said that Suriname saw China as an important partner in the country's development and is willing to further advance bilateral ties. 

Ambassador Chen assumed office in late 2018. "China's development, as I have observed since my arrival, is tremendous, surprising, and mind blowing," said Chen. 

"Under the leadership of President Xi Jinping, socialism with Chinese characteristics is duly notable as well as the spirit of the [China-proposed] Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). China has achieved the goal of eradicating poverty, whereby a considerable percentage of the population was lifted out of absolute poverty. The country managed to open up to the world, and there is remarkable outbound investment. China is also visible in the international arena among others through participation in UN global missions, she said. "China is doing excellently under the leadership of President Xi Jinping." 

Photo: VCG

Photo: VCG

"China managed to successfully organize and host the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics as well as the Paralympic Winter Games in February of this year. I was also very impressed with the organization of the 2019 horticulture expo in which my country also participated," she noted.

Chen told the Global Times that Chinese government's governance capability is just what China needs as the country is "doing great." 

She commends the high efficiency and talents of the Chinese officials that she has met. 

"I have experienced how sincere, polite, and open-minded the [Chinese] officials are. I experienced that, among others but not limited to, during my working visits to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing, and in the preparation of participation of Suriname in the horticulture expo in Beijing and for the China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai. They are part of a result-oriented driving force whereby success is guaranteed," she said.

Suriname was one of the first Caribbean countries to establish diplomatic relations with China. China-Suriname relations have witnessed rapid development, with fruitful cooperation in political, economic, cultural, and international fields. 

However, some Western media outlets have claimed that China provided financial support to Suriname in exchange for its support of the "one-China" principle. 

During the interview, the ambassador told the Global Times that when Suriname and China established bilateral relations in 1976, the one-China principle was, and still is, one of the unwavering principles upon which the relationship was cemented. 

"This has nothing to do with money or funding, but is something much deeper on to which one cannot simply attach any price tag. When our countries established bilateral relations, it was done based on mutual political recognition of our countries. We expected, among others, ever-growing ties of friendship, since we also have a Chinese diaspora in my country of Suriname," she noted.

In responding to the accusation that some foreign media outlets have hyped that China's presence would cause "instability" and "conflict" in the LAC (Latin America and the Caribbean) region, the ambassador said, "I am not aware of complaints from the respective countries of the LAC, because I did not come across complaints from those countries or their governments about the presence and influence of China in the region."

"As far as I know, many countries in the LAC region do have embassies in Beijing. The number of LAC countries establishing diplomatic relations with China has risen throughout the years. The political will of the LAC region is safeguarding the spirit of cooperation with China. 

"Therefore, I don't anticipate instability and conflict to be caused by China's presence in the region, given that China is known for not interfering in the domestic affairs of its partners in development," she noted.

She also said that China's presence in the region does not form a competitive relationship against other countries. 

On April 29, the Foreign Ministers' Meeting Among China and the Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China was held via video link. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Acting Prime Minister of Dominica Reginald Austrie co-chaired the meeting. 

Wang said that China and the Caribbean countries have enjoyed a long-standing friendship, and the two sides are good friends, good partners, and good brothers sharing the same ideals. 

Since the beginning of diplomatic relations between China and the Caribbean countries 50 years ago, especially since President Xi Jinping's visit to the Caribbean countries in 2013, the comprehensive cooperative partnership between China and the Caribbean countries has continued to deepen, and cooperation in various sectors has yielded fruitful outcomes, setting an exemplary model of mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit, and common development between countries of different sizes, said Wang.

"China will continue to provide economic and technological assistance to the Caribbean countries without any political strings attached, focusing on supporting key projects of interest to the Caribbean countries, vigorously developing projects that benefit the people, and promoting practical technologies," Wang said.

Ambassador Chen said that they expect to further advance bilateral ties under the framework of the BRI.

"Building a community with a shared future for mankind is inspirational and instrumental to attain mutual benefit from the BRI. With a positive spirit, we observe and anticipate comprehensive cooperation. Suriname is a young nation rich in natural resources such as oil and gas, fresh water resources, abundant forests, and rich in gold reserves. Construction of buildings, infrastructure, and investment in industries is what I expect. Suriname is a developing country and needs partners in development. China remains one of our main partners in development."

This year also marks the 46th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Suriname. 

The ambassador said that the bilateral relations between the two countries have been developing steadily and there is continuous cooperation in various fields which further boost bilateral ties.

"During the COVID-19 pandemic, our countries managed to support each other in overcoming this worldwide tragedy. I expect that bilateral relations will remain in the positive and cooperative spirit of friendship and the cordial ties are of mutual benefit. The political will is still visible at present," she said.