China-LAC: A Promising Shared Future
NIU Qingbao

On January 22, 2018, the Second Ministerial Meeting of the CELAC-China Forum (CCF) will be held in Santiago, Chile. This CCF, attended by Chinese Foreign Minister WANG Yi, Senator the Honorable Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica and their fellow foreign ministers from other countries of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), offers a good opportunity of enhancing China-LAC cooperation.

LAC is a priority in China foreign policy. Both being developing countries, China and LAC are in a similar development stage, face same tasks of development and offer development opportunities to each other. China can not develop in the absence of development of other developing countries including LAC. China-LAC cooperation is in the common interest of both sides and is conducive to world stability and prosperity.

China-LAC mutual political trust is ever more consolidated. President Xi Jinping has visited 10 LAC countries during his three visits since 2013, and met leaders of all LAC countries that have diplomatic relations with China. President Xi and his counterparts intensively exchanged views on important issues of global governance, China-LAC overall cooperation and forging a shared future between China and LAC. They reached a whole range of consensus and achievements that lead the overall cooperation between China and LAC countries. China and LAC share similar views on the need for a more just and reasonable world order, have conducted intensive communication and coordination at the UN and in G20, BRICS and APEC meetings, and have supported each other on issues of common concern and each other's core interest.

LAC is indispensable in the Belt and Road initiative. Pacific Maritime Silk Road that connects China and Latin America dates back more than 400 years. China is willing to partner with LAC in the Belt and Road framework. We should follow the principle of "equal consultation, joint construction and shared benefit" and promote policy coordination, infrastructure connectivity, unimpeded trade, financial cooperation and people-to-people friendship. Then we will be able to find new development opportunities, grasp new growth driving forces, open new development fronts and achieve mutual complementarity, mutual benefit and win-win, thus moving toward a community of shared future.

China and LAC are getting more integrated. China seeks mutually beneficial cooperation and common development with LAC and is ready to work with LAC countries to build the new "1+3+6" framework for pragmatic cooperation (i.e. Guided by the China-LAC Countries Cooperation Plan (2015-2019), utilizing trade, investment and financial cooperation as driving forces, and identifying energy and resources, infrastructure construction, agriculture, manufacturing, scientific and technological innovation and information technology as cooperation priorities). China is now the second biggest trade partner of LAC, with our two-way trade from January to October of 2017 totaling USD 210 billion, an 18.3% increase over the same period in 2016. LAC is China's second largest investment destination after Asia, attracting USD 27 billion Chinese investment in 2016 and recording an annual increase of 116%.  Accumulated FDI from China has reached USD 207 billion, or 15.3% of China's total outgoing investment. China is also a critical production capacity cooperation partner of LAC. With that, we are more than happy to see here in Jamaica that "Alpart is smoking again".

China-LAC friendship is ever more popular. We are having frequent exchanges between our legislatures, localities, media and think-tanks. Robust cooperation are ongoing in education, culture and tourism. "China-LAC Cultural Exchange Year" successfully held in 2016 triggered a new wave of mutual appreciation and learning of our cultures. In face of the disaster of hurricanes in some Caribbean countries last year, China helped timely and as much as we could, which is our tradition of standing together with our brothers through thick and thin. As a responsible international player, China has spared no efforts in pushing forward the implementation of the 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on climate change, a top concern for Caribbean island countries. China's commitment to partnership with LAC on climate change constitutes a stable and reliable force that LAC countries and the Caribbean countries in particular have benefited and will continue to benefit.

Future Relations are Promising. Building an international community with a shared future is the main theme of Chinese foreign policy set out by the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October 2017. With detailed plans for development and international cooperation, especially the commitment to promote the Belt and Road Initiative, China will surely create more opportunities that can benefit LAC and other countries worldwide.

We have only one globe. "Let's get together and feel all right."

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