Xi stresses friendship, co-op with Trinidad and Tobago

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Xi vows to advance ties with Trinidad and Tobago

 President Xi Jinping (2nd L) and his wife Peng Liyuan (1st L) pose for a group photo with President of Trinidad and Tobago Anthony Carmona (2nd R) and his wife before the meeting between the two presidents in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, June 1, 2013. [Xinhua]

Chinese President Xi Jinping said Saturday that his three-day state visit to Trinidad and Tobago is to improve the two countries' friendly cooperation and further consolidate bilateral ties.

Though geographically far apart, China and Trinidad and Tobago enjoy a profound traditional friendship, Xi said in a meeting with President of Trinidad and Tobago Anthony Carmona.

Trinidad and Tobago was among the first Caribbean countries to establish diplomatic ties with China and has always supported China on issues concerning China's core interests, Xi said.

"The Chinese people will never forget that Trinidad and Tobago cast its vote in favor of restoring the lawful seat of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations in 1971," Xi said.

Trinidad and Tobago is the first Caribbean country Xi has visited since assuming presidency in March. It is also the first leg of Xi's three-nation tour in Latin America, which also includes Costa Rica and Mexico.

For his part, Carmona said Trinidad and Tobago's decision to forge diplomatic ties with China in 1974 showed strategic foresight and the bilateral relationship has borne rich fruit.

China has undertaken many important construction projects in Trinidad and Tobago, and those projects have helped boost the country's social and economic development and brought tangible benefits to local communities, he said.

Trinidad and Tobago hopes to improve cooperation with China in such sectors as trade, clean energy and environmental protection, he said.

Trinidad and Tobago also welcomes the establishment of a Confucius Institute as an effort to improve cultural exchanges and mutual understanding, Carmona said.

Before their meeting, Xi and his wife Peng Liyuan met with a group of local middle school students, and encouraged them to communicate more with their Chinese peers.

Noting that the youth are the future of the bilateral friendship, Xi promised to create more opportunities for the young generations of the two countries to know each other better.

Accompanied by First Lady Reema Carmona, Peng watched an artistic show by local performers. She invited them to perform in China, and expressed the hope that the bilateral friendship will last forever like beautiful melodies.

Xi arrived in Trinidad and Tobago on Friday night.  During the visit, Xi will also hold bilateral meetings with leaders of Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Suriname and Jamaica, all of which are Caribbean countries with diplomatic ties with China.

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