Chinese president starts visit to Trinidad and Tobago

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Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Port of Spain Friday to start a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago aimed at expanding friendly cooperation between China and the Caribbean nation.

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive in Port of Spain May 31, 2013 to start a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago. [Photo/Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive in Port of Spain May 31, 2013 to start a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago. [Photo/Xinhua]

During his three-day trip, Xi, the first Chinese president to visit the Caribbean country since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1974, will meet President Anthony Carmona and Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar to discuss how to expand bilateral cooperation.

The two countries are also expected to sign a number of cooperative documents covering economy, trade and education.

Xi will also hold bilateral meetings in Port of Spain with the leaders of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Surinam and Jamaica, all of which have diplomatic ties with China.

"The meetings will have a profound impact on the development of China's relationship with the Caribbean countries," Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Kunsheng told reporters Wednesday in Beijing.

Trinidad and Tobago is an important cooperative partner of China in the English-speaking Caribbean region.

The two countries have expanded cooperation in the political, economic, trade and cultural sectors in recent years.

Two-way trade reached 449 million U.S. dollars in 2012.

From Port of Spain, the Chinese president will travel to Costa Rica and Mexico for state visits.

"The Latin American and Caribbean region is one of the most dynamic and promising regions in the world," Zhang said, adding that Xi's trip will deepen China's relations with the three countries.

After his Latin America tour, Xi will fly to the U.S. state of California for a summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama on June 7-8.

The China-U.S. summit will be the first of its kind since both nations completed their most recent leadership transitions. The summit will be held at Sunnylands, the Walter and Leonore Annenberg estate in Rancho Mirage, California.

Xi and Obama are expected to exchange views on a number of domestic and foreign policies and regional and international issues of common concern, Chinese officials said.

"Both sides believe the summit arrangement is appropriate and shows the importance and uniqueness of China-U.S. relations," said Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang Wednesday in Beijing.

"Both sides expect their presidents to meet at an early date so as to communicate and outline the future of China-U.S. relations," he added.

Analysts say the summit will be conducive to strengthening strategic communications, increasing mutual trust, deepening bilateral cooperation, and managing differences between China and the United States.

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