Joint Press Communiqué of the Special Vice-Ministerial Meeting between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of China and the Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China on COVID-19

11 May 2020

The Special Vice-Ministerial Meeting between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of China and the Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations With China on COVID-19 was held via videoconference on 11 May 2020. Vice Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang of the People's Republic of China and Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and Diaspora Relations Hon. Kenneth Darroux of the Commonwealth of Dominica co-chaired the Meeting. Prime Minister Hon. Roosevelt Skerrit of the Commonwealth of Dominica attended the opening session of the Meeting and delivered remarks.

The Caribbean countries represented at the Meeting were Antigua and Barbuda, the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, Barbados, the Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, Jamaica, the Republic of Suriname and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.

1. The two sides reviewed the progress made in the relations between China and the Caribbean countries in recent years and jointly agreed to intensify efforts in order to deepen their comprehensive cooperation and partnership based on the principles of mutual respect and equality, as well as mutual benefit and common development. The two sides commended the important role of the Consultative Mechanism between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Caribbean Countries Having Diplomatic Relations with China in strengthening the relations between China and the Caribbean countries, and agreed that this Meeting was of special significance especially as the world confronts the challenges arising from the COVID-19 pandemic.

2. The two sides acknowledged the enormity of the threat posed by COVID-19 to lives and livelihoods as well as the resulting deleterious social and economic impacts in China, the Caribbean countries and across the world. The two sides expressed deep condolences over the lives lost to the virus and heartfelt sympathies to all the patients and their families, and paid high tribute to the healthcare workers fighting at the front lines.

3. The two sides shared the view that although COVID-19 has so far been effectively stemmed in China and several Caribbean countries, it is still rapidly spreading in many parts of the world. They recognised that the virus respects no borders and was a common enemy of humanity. Guided by multilateralism and science, all countries must strengthen communication, coordination and cooperation in support of the important role of the World Health Organization in coordinating global cooperation against COVID-19. We oppose any politicization, discrimination and labeling of peoples with regard to COVID-19.

4. The Caribbean side emphasized the importance of strengthening the capacity of their local health systems and the need to support developing countries, in particular those in Caribbean, commended China's work in effectively controlling the local outbreak of COVID-19 and in sharing information and experience with the Caribbean countries. It expressed appreciation for China's support and assistance to the Caribbean countries and looks forward to continued collaborations and assistance. The Chinese side appreciated the Caribbean countries' firm and sincere support, highly commended their active efforts to manage and contain COVID-19 and fully acknowledges their particular vulnerabilities. China was ready to further help friendly Caribbean countries as its ability permits and calls on international community to provide the Caribbean side with necessary support and assistance against COVID-19.

5. The two sides agreed to further maintain and strengthen mutual support and coordination in international and regional affairs, to firmly support the UN-centered international system, to uphold the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, and to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests and space for development of developing countries. The two sides agreed on the need to defend the multilateral trading system with the WTO as the core, build an open world economy, advance the reform of global financial governance and accelerate the delivery of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

6. The two sides reaffirmed the commitment in order to promote post-pandemic practical cooperation in various fields and to determine new avenues and areas of cooperation to advance China-Caribbean relations.

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