PM Browne travels to China to strengthen diplomatic relationship

January 22, 2024 in Regional

Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne is leading a delegation to the People’s Republic of China on a mission to improve his island’s relationship with that Asian country.

Browne and the other members of his delegation which includes Health Minister Sir Molwyn Joseph, Foreign Affairs Minister E.P. Chet Greene, Chief of Staff in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ambassador Lionel Hurst and Chairman of the National Solid Waste Management Authority, Michael Joseph, left the island on Saturday for Beijing and is expected to hold wide-ranging bilateral talks with the leaders there.

In an interview with ABS Television the Prime Minister said China is Antigua and Barbuda’s most important development partner and has contributed to various areas infrastructural development.

“I think it’s going to be a great engagement, one in which we would be able to enhance the bilateral relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Antigua and Barbuda.

“There is no other country that has given us more grants and concession loans than China within the last two decades and as a consequence we’ve been able to build out our socio-economic infrastructure’” Browne said.

The Antiguan Prime Minister credits the country’s air and seaports, as well as the buildings housing the University of the West Indies (UWI) Five Islands Campus and the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium to the generosity of China.

“The People’s Republic of China has been using its resources to assist developing countries globally, building capacity to ensure that we too enjoy some level of prosperity.”

He lauds the country, describing it as a “selfless nation globally, in terms of it outlook [as] it continues to help countries in the global south to develop capacity and to improve the living standards of the people.

“Instead of being involved in all these senseless global conflicts, China has been utilising it resources to ensure that…all of humanity can share equitably in the resources of the planet.”

The Prime Minister did not disclose what exactly the talks would surround but said “We are now seeking to strengthen the relationship and I’m quite sure that we would return with an agreement that would further enhance the bilateral relationship between the People’s Republic of China and Antigua and Barbuda.”

According to a post on the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry “at the invitation of Premier Li Qiang of the State Council, Prime Minister of Antigua and Barbuda Gaston Browne will pay an official visit to China from January 22 to 28”.

It said Browne will attend the signing ceremony of cooperation documents but didn’t go into details about the areas of cooperation.

China and Antigua and Barbuda, in 2023 celebrated 40 years of diplomatic relations.