The first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) that opened in Beijing yesterday, Thursday, 8 January 2015.
Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Relations for the Dominican Republic, Ms. Alejandra Liriano de la Cruz spoke of the Dominican interest in strengthening bilateral relations with mainland China.
Ms. Liriano said that improving relations with Asia is a way of encouraging sustainable and integral development in Latin America and the Caribbean. She said the meeting was a circumstantial opportunity to refocus bilateral relations with the Dominican Republic at a time when President Danilo Medina is about to re-launch the country’s foreign policy next week. President Medina recently appointed a new Foreign Minister, Mr. Andres Navarro, who replaces the late Mr. Carlos Morales Troncoso who held the post for more than a decade.
During her speech, Ms.Liriano highlighted the country’s strategic geographic location at the center of the Caribbean with good port and air connections that provide direct links to the Americas and the rest of the world. She also pointed out the extensive natural resources available for manufacturing, agribusiness, services and tourism.
She described the Forum of China and CELAC meeting as “positive initiatives” that provided a platform for achieving cooperation to promote integrated, social and sustainable development of the peoples of China and Latin America.
She stated that “The Dominican Republic confirms its commitment to continue to back the convergence process of our region through regional, sub-regional, bilateral and triangular development cooperation programs”.
The High-Level two-day meeting was attended by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Costa Rican President Luis Guillermo Solis, Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, and the Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Perry Christie.
The two-day session ended with a 5-year cooperation plan and a joint declaration. Chinese Premier Li Keqiang commented that “the relationship between China and Latin American and Caribbean countries has been improved to a new level, and it has laid the foundation for further sustainable development”.
About CELAC: Created in 2011 CELAC groups 33 Latin American and Caribbean countries. During Xi Jinping’s visit to Latin America in July 2014, the establishment of the cooperation forum was announced and it was agreed that a first ministerial meeting would be held at an early date.
About China: China is now Latin America’s second largest trading partner and the region’s third biggest source of investment.
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