Xi pledges closer co-op with Suriname, Barbados

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Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged on Sunday to work with Suriname and Barbados to expand his country's cooperation with the two Caribbean nations.

Xi, in a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago, made the remarks during separate meetings with Surinamese President Desi Bouterse and Barbadian Prime Minister Freundel Stuart.

In talks with Bouterse, Xi said Suriname hosts the most overseas Chinese in the Caribbean, and the Chinese culture has become an important part of Suriname's pluralistic culture.

Noting that this year marks the 160th anniversary of the arrival of Chinese in Suriname, Xi said the two sides should celebrate the occasion and carry on their traditional friendship.

The two countries, Xi suggested, should enhance communication between government agencies, legislatures and political parties, and expand cooperation in infrastructure construction, forestry, mining, oil, water conservation and other sectors concerning people's well-being.

Suriname is to take over the rotating presidency of the Union of South American Nations, and China is ready to join hands with Suriname to advance the overall cooperation between China and Latin America, Xi said.

For his part, Bouterse said his country remains committed to strengthening its friendly ties with China and hopes to receive China's continued support in such areas as economic development and talent training.

Suriname, said the president, is willing to give play to its geographical advantages and serve as a link for China-Latin America cooperation.

When meeting with Stuart, Xi said China and Barbados should create some bright spots in bilateral cooperation. They need to beef up agricultural collaboration and guarantee their respective food security, he added.

Noting that Barbados is carrying out a renewable energy revolution and China boasts rich experiences and mature technologies in solar, wind and biogas power generation, Xi said the two sides can cooperate in accordance with Barbados' needs.

Xi also urged the two countries to boost people-to-people exchanges and tourism cooperation so as to increase mutual understanding.

China, he pledged, will continue to provide assistance within its capacities for small island countries including Barbados to cope with climate change under the framework of South-South cooperation.

Stuart, for his part, said Barbados-China relations enjoy a solid foundation, and Barbados expects the mutually beneficial cooperation to yield more fruits.

Barbados attaches great importance to the issue of climate change and wants to cooperate with China in such areas as clean energy and renewable energy so as to achieve sustainable development, the prime minister said.

Barbados, he added, welcomes Chinese tourists and stands ready to promote Chinese language teaching among its population.

Trinidad and Tobago is the first leg of Xi's ongoing Latin America tour, which will also take him to Costa Rica and Mexico. He will also travel to California for a summit meeting with U.S. President Barack Obama. 

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