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Speech by Ambassador Zhao Yongchen at the Reception Marking the 15th Anniversary of the Resumption of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and Grenada

Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,

Good evening! Welcome to the Reception today to witness and celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Resumption of Diplomatic Relations between the People's Republic of China and Grenada. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I wish to extend warm congratulations to the 15th Anniversary of the Resumption of Diplomatic Relations between China and Grenada, I would also like to extend sincere gratitude on behalf of the Chinese Embassy to the Grenadian government officials, business and academic elites, as well as friends from all walks of life who have actively supported and promoted China-Grenadian friendly relations and pragmatic cooperation over the years. I wish to take this opportunity to express sincere thanks to the overseas Chinese in Grenada, Chinese enterprises, and Chinese teachers, volunteers in T. A. Marryshow Community College Confucius classroom who have devoted themselves to social development and the friendship between our two great peoples.

On January 20, 2005, People's Republic of China and Grenada signed the Joint Communiqué, announced the resumption of diplomatic relations between two countries and opened a new chapter of bilateral exchanges. Though thousands of miles apart, our two peoples share the same dream of development. As Right. Hon. Prime Minister Mitchell once said, China and Grenada are strong partners and reliable friends. Over the past 15 years, the two sides have committed to mutual respect, mutual assistance and common development in pursuit of respective development and prosperity. Bilateral relations have developed steadily, with the guidance of the leaders and joint efforts of both sides, which not only benefited two countries and peoples, but also effectively promoted China-Caribbean cooperation.

Over the past 15 years, the two sides have deepened mutual political trust constantly. Both sides have always respected and taken care of each other's core interests. China stands for the equality of all countries, large or small. China respects Grenada's sovereignty and independence, never interferes in Grenada's internal affairs, and helps Grenada build up its independent development. China highly appreciates Grenada's adherence to the One China Principle. The two sides have kept sound communications and cooperation on both international and regional issues, supported each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, and played an important role in safeguarding the interests of developing countries, maintaining regional and world peace and security, as well as maintaining the international order. In 2018, the governments of China and Grenada jointly hosted the China-Caribbean Conference on anti-corruption law enforcement cooperation. In 2019, we co-hosted China-Caribbean Conference on Belt and Road Initiative Implementation, which enriched and expanded the connotation of the friendly development between China and the Caribbean. The two sides also enjoyed close policing cooperation, yielded fruitful results. 37 vehicles and equipment were officially handed over to the Royal Grenada Police Force in October 2017.The China-Grenada relationship has become a model of friendship and cooperation between countries of different sizes and different social systems.

Over the past 15 years, economic and trade cooperation between China and Grenada has been developing steadily. Adhering to the concepts of equality, mutual benefit, and win-win cooperation, and with focus on common development, China has extended large-scale aid and investment to Grenada, making positive contributions to the economic and social development, and bringing in tangible benefits to the Grenadian people. All the China-aid economic cooperation projects are based on mutual discussion, covering infrastructure, education, people's livelihood, agriculture, transportation, sports and other fields, beneficial to Grenadian people's welfare. The low-income housing project is implemented in two phases. A total of 1,000 apartments are to be built for the low-income people, which will greatly improve their housing conditions. The first phase of the project has been completed and handed over. The second phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of 2020. In 2007 and 2015, the Rehabilitation and Expansion Project of National Cricket Stadium and the Revamping and Expansion Project of the National Athletics Stadium, were completed and delivered to Grenada respectively. In 2019, China promised to provide a grant of 38.4 million EC dollars to Grenada for the implementation of the Renovation of the National Cricket Stadium and other projects. These aiding efforts have played an important role in sports and social life in Grenada. In agriculture, China has been carrying out seven consecutive phases of agricultural technical cooperation projects with Grenada since 2005. Each phase lasted for 2 to 3 years. The seventh phase has been launched in 2018. Technical demonstrations have been conducted in the fields of vegetable, fruit, and flower cultivation, and a large number of agricultural technicians have been trained in Grenada.

The past 15 years also witnessed active and colourful cultural exchanges between the two countries. Since the official establishment of the Confucius Classroom at T. A. Marryshow Community College in October 2015, 1855 Grenadians have taken Chinese courses there. By the end of 2019, more than 2,100 Grenadians have participated in training and advanced education in China. Among them, 200 Grenadian students were awarded Chinese government scholarships to study in China, and more than 1,900 person-times participated in short-term training courses.

Close contacts between the people holds the key to sound state-to-state relations. As Chinese Ambassador to Grenada, I often engage with local community and exchange with local people, fully enjoying their kindness and enthusiasm for China and Chinese. We also held cultural activities such as Chinese Film Festival, Chinese Kungfu Night, "Chinese Bridge" Chinese Language Competition, etc., which were also widely welcomed by the public. Westmorland School has listed Chinese as an elective course in the whole school curriculum. I can feel the strong interest in learning Chinese language and culture from Grenadian people, especially the young generation. And I can also spot the broad social foundation for the friendly relations between China and Grenada.

Ladies and gentlemen,

The world is undergoing complex and profound changes, but the trend of peaceful development and win-win cooperation has not changed. Even though Latin America and the Caribbean are facing many challenges of development, China is still very confident with the prospects of Latin America and the Caribbean. China always attaches great importance to China-Grenada relations and cherishes the friendship and cooperation with Grenada. As Chinese Ambassador to Grenada, I look forward to taking opportunity of celebrating 15th anniversary of the resumption of diplomatic relations between our two countries, working together with you to push our friendly relations to a new height. With a view of how to develop China-Grenada friendly relations in the future, I have the following suggestions:

First, to consolidate mutual political trust and be a friendly partner of mutual trust. We should strengthen our confidence, further strengthen high-level exchanges, deepen strategic mutual trust and cooperation, understand and support each other's core interests and major concerns, and grasp the general direction of bilateral relations. We need to strengthen exchanges of governance experience and jointly promote the building of a community of shared future for mankind and a new type of international relations.

Second, to deepen pragmatic cooperation and be mutually beneficial development partners. We should seize the opportunity, speed up to align the "Belt and Road Initiative" with Grenada Sustainable Development Plan 2035, optimize and upgrade China-Grenada economic and technological cooperation, expand cooperation in the areas of people's livelihoods and ocean economy, and give full play to the advantages of Grenada's resources, so as to help Grenada achieve greater economic and social development.

Third, to promote people-to-people exchanges and interactive partners who learn from each other. We should expand exchanges at all levels in legislature, local government, media, think tanks, education, culture, tourism and other fields, promote mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples, encourage exchanges among youth and women, and make the tree of China-Grenada friendship evergreen.

Ladies and gentlemen,

As a Chinese old saying goes, a partnership forged with the right approach defies geographical distance; it is thicker than glue and stronger than metal and stone. I am convinced that we will be able to make history with our mutually beneficial cooperation and contribute more to the people's welfare, regional peace, development and win-win cooperation, as well as a community with a shared future for mankind.

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