Remarks by Ambassador Lu Kun at the Reception Celebrating the 15th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations between China and Dominica

H.E. Charles Savarin, President of the Commonwealth of Dominica and Mrs. Savarin,
Hon. Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica and Mrs. Skerrit,
Hon. Alix Boyd-Knights, Speaker of the House of Assembly
Hon. Deputy Prime Minister Austria and other Cabinet Ministers,
Hon. Members of the Parliament,
Cabinet Secretary Amb. Steve Ferrel,
Ambassadors of the Diplomatic Corps.,
Permanent Secretaries,
My fellow Chinese,
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good Evening!

First of all, I would like to express my deep thanks and immense rejoice to you for joining this reception today to celebrate the 15th anniversary of our diplomatic relations between China and Dominica. We also have enormous honour and pleasure to have important guests from the government of Dominica, such as the President and Mrs. President, Prime Minister and Mrs. Prime Minister, the Speaker of the House of Assembly, the Opposition leader and the deputy Prime Minister and other cabinet ministers.
March 23rd 2004 marks a historical moment and a unique day for the People's Republic of China and the Commonwealth of Dominica as our two countries sighed the documents of establishing diplomatic relations. Fifteen years have passed. The relationship between China and Dominica grows fast and steadily, just like a flower in its full blossom bringing its fragrance to everyone. The strong relationship between our two countries has yielded abundant fruits which benefit both the people of China and Dominica. Recalling this bilateral relations, we cannot forget one person. He is the founder of China-Dominica relationship. He is the great leader of Dominica and great friend of China. He is Prime Minister Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit. Let us pay full respect and deep honour to him and Mrs Skerrit. The Chinese government and Chinese people will never forget you and your wife. It is your wise and courageous decision to establish diplomatic relations with China. At this moment, I also would like to thank Mr. President Savarin and Mrs Savarin, Hon. Alix Knight, Speaker of the House of Assembly, all the cabinet ministers, friends of the opposition party and all the other friends for your contribution and dedication to China-Dominica friendship. 

Ladies and gentlemen:

Over the past 15 years, we have worked to promote the development of bilateral relations on the basis of mutual respect, mutual benefit , non-interference in each other's internal affairs and win-win cooperation. China regards Dominica as a good friend, good partner, good brother in this region. 

During the past 15 years, we have witnessed frequent high-level exchange of visits which deepened mutual trust and enhanced bilateral relations. In 2005, Hon. Dr. Roosevelt Skerrit, Prime Minister of Dominica paid an official visit to China. In 2013, during an official visit to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of China met with Hon. Skerrit. In addition, from the Chinese side, Gu Xiulian and Chen Changzhi, both Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, Wang Jiarui, Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee, and Yang Jiechi, Vice Foreign Minister have visited Dominica. From the Dominican side, H.E. Alix Boyd Knights, Speaker of the House Assembly has visited China, and Hon. Francine Baron, Foreign Minister, Hon. Petter Saint Jean, President of Dominica Labor Party and Hon. Lennox Linton, Leader of the Opposition United Workers Party have attended important conferences in China.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The past 15 years has seen expanded cooperation with fruitful results between our two countries:

In the infrastructure sector, China has helped Dominica with the construction of the Windsor Park Stadium, the York Valley Bridge and the China-Dominica Friendship Bridge, the reconstruction of the West Coast Road as well as its rehabilitation post tropical storm Erika. China has also helped to build the State House and the Roseau Valley Resettlement Houses through low-interest loans .

In the education sector, China has helped to build the New Town Primary School and the Dominica State College. China has also provided human resource training programs for people in various fields and offered Chinese government scholarship to bachelor, master and doctor degree candidates every year. So far, more than 500 Dominicans including governmental officials, technicians and managers have taken part in the short-term training courses in China, and more than 170 Dominican students have studied at universities in China for higher education.
In the medical sector, China has sent a number of medical aid teams to carry out medical technology cooperation. We have also helped to train about 60 nurses and mechanics through bilateral courses focusing on the urgent needs of Dominica. Last year, the Chinese Navy Hospital Ship Ark Peace visited Dominica for the first time, providing free medical services and humanitarian assistance. At present, China is conducting the reconstruction and expansion of the Princess Margaret Hospital and the first stage of the project will be handed over soon. I am also very happy that the new hospital will be named as Dominica-China Friendship Hospital. This is a symbol of friendship and cooperation.

In the agricultural sector, China has sent experts to conduct agricultural technology cooperation for more than ten years, providing advanced agricultural production technology and a variety of fruits and vegetables. In 2017, the China Agricultural Expert Team was awarded "Outstanding Achievement Prize" by the Dominican Government. But I want to say that their achievements are also due to the long-term support from Hon. Dr. Skerrit and other Dominican Government officials. Not long ago, our two countries have exchanged documents on the construction of the Agriculture Science and Technology Complex Building, which will be built in the China-Dominica Modern Agriculture Center in Portsmouth this year.

In addition, last year, our two countries signed the MOU on Cooperation within the Framework of the Belt and Road Initiative, which opened a new path for cooperation between our two countries.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

During the past 15 years, we have seen increased people-to-people exchanges. All-China Youth Federation, the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries, the Guangdong Friendship Delegation and the Guangdong Art Troupe have visited Dominica. Dominica journalists delegation, youth delegation, delegation of the Dominica Labor Party and delegation of the United Workers Party have visited China. Dominica also participated in the Shanghai World Expo in 2010. Those exchanges have strengthened the friendship between the two peoples and built an important bridge for the development of the China-Dominica relations.

During the past 15 years, we have seen China and Dominica support each other in the international arena. As the largest developing country in the world, China has spoken for the small island developing countries on many important international occasions. In particular, China has given active support to Dominica for its reasonable appeals on topics such as the international development financing and climate change. So does Dominica on such issues as the United Nations Security Council Reform, the South China Sea. In addition, both China and Dominica share the common position and stance on Venezuela, climate change and other international issues .

Ladies and Gentlemen,

As a proverb says , a friend in need is a friend indeed. On September 18th, 2017, the devastating hurricane Maria hit Dominica and caused massive damage. At this critical moment, the Chinese government provided 800,000 USD humanitarian cash aid at the first time. Then, we worked with UNDP and launched a 3 million USD Roof Restoration Project. We also donated vehicles for civil use, such as ambulances, fire engines and pickup trucks. In order to help Dominica's post-disaster recovery and reconstruction, China has overcome various difficulties to resume the West Coast Road Project and the hospital project as early as possible. And the Chinese Government agrees to build a modern hospital that is hurricane proof in Dominica. In the future, the Chinese government will build 6 schools on the island as part of the  hurricane recovery project.
Ladies and Gentlemen,

Distance cannot separate true friends who feel so close even when they are thousands of miles apart. China and Dominica are such friends who have worked together to bring their relations to a new level within just 15 years, despite our distance and our differences in size, population, social systems, history and culture. China has always maintained that all countries are equal. Dominican people have the right to choose their way of development. We will never interfere with Dominica's internal affairs. China's economic assistance to Dominica is free and without any political conditions. Chinese government highly appreciates that Dominica has adhered to the One-China policy and never had any official or unofficial associations with Taiwan since the establishment of diplomatic relations with China. This has laid a solid foundation for the friendship relations between our two countries.

In recent years, some western countries have maliciously accused China of ulterior motives in its aid. However, Hon. Prime Minister Skerrit stood up for China and made it clear that "China has not made any undue demands on Dominica or seek to impose its will on the island and what China has been doing every step of the way is to assist Dominica in social and economic development". Thank you very much, Hon. Prime Minister, for upholding justice .

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Like many Caribbean countries, China had sad memory and unfortunate history of being suppressed and mistreated. Before the Chinese Communist Party established the People's Republic of China in 1949, China was invaded, colonized and slaved by imperialist powers and suffered from devastating wars and poverty for over 100 years, so we deeply know the importance of a peaceful, stable, fair and just international environment to the development of a country. Although China has became the second largest economy in the word, maintaining world peace and promoting common development are still the unremitting pursuit of the Chinese people. Chinese President Xi Jinping has proposed to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China is willing to work together with people of all countries to build an open, inclusive, clean, and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity.

As Chinese Ambassador to Dominica, I have witnessed that under the leadership of Prime Minister Skerrit, substantial achievements and great progress have been made in the recovery process after the Hurricane Maria. The Chinese people will firmly stand together with the Dominica people to overcome the difficulties in the social and economic development of Dominica and to build the world's first climate-resilient nation. With the common efforts of both governments and people of our two countries, I believe that on the way to building a community with a shared future for mankind advocated by Chinese President Xi Jinping, the governments and peoples of China and Dominica will surely build on what we have achieved and join hands to create a better future for China-Dominica relations.

Thank you very much for your attention.

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