Beijing, 5 December 2021 (TDI): State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China, Wang Yi chaired and delivered a keynote speech at the Third Ministerial Meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). The meeting was held virtually. This year, Mexico holds the rotating presidency of the CELAC.

Whilst addressing the virtual meeting Wang Yi stated that the President of China is optimistic about the outcome of the China-CELAC Forum. He charted a blueprint to lead China-CELAC cooperation with the Global Development Initiative (GDI).

China-CELAC Forum

Ever since the second ministerial meeting of the China-CELAC Forum, new cooperative steps have been adopted to lay a solid foundation for a greater culmination of China-CELAC ties.

Wang Yi highlighted that over the past three years, China has been a sincere and trusted partner to the CELAC. Consequently, the two entities have conducted thorough consultations and collaborated on issues pertaining to mutual interest.

The two have colluded in COVID-19 response to build a China-CELAC community of health. In addition, China and CELAC have collaborated for the benefit of all countries along with promoting the application of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) in Latin America.

Resultantly, China-CELAC trade volume is above 300 billion US dollars for three consecutive years. Moreover, important contributions have been made to facilitate China-CELAC cooperation and South-South cooperation.

Chinese Foreign Minister addressed the 3rd Ministerial Meeting of China-CELAC Forum

Chinese Foreign Minister enunciated that the GDI proposed by President Xi Jinping will form international synergies to expedite the execution of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the United Nations (UN) and tackle the pandemic challenges.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development of the UN serves the common interests of developing countries from the Caribbean and Latin American region.

He further stated that the initiative has been appreciated by the international community and regional countries can actively join and support it. Aside from that, the Foreign Minister put forth five suggestions:

  • Firstly, China and CELAC should treat each other as equals and jointly collaborate to generate opportunities for independent development. The principles of the UN Charter and the fundamental norms of international relations should be upheld.
  • Particularly, the principle that all big or small countries are equal. Therefore, the principle of non-interference in internal affairs, safeguarding each other’s sovereignty as well as development and security interests; should be adopted.
  • On the Taiwan issue, he said that owing to the concerns of the national unity of China and the national sentiment, China believes that more Caribbean and Latin American countries will support its legitimacy.
  • Secondly, the two partners must stay committed to advancing each other’s mutual benefits and collaborate to produce opportunities for interconnected development. China welcomes CELAC to apply for the China-CELAC Special Loan to combat COVID-19.
  • Furthermore, a new China-CELAC Special Loan for Development Cooperation will also be set up for the practical partnership in the eight areas of the GDI proposed by the Chinese President.
  • Thirdly, China and CELAC must work together for innovative opportunities to facilitate green development. It will boost cooperation in e-commerce, digital economy, electric vehicles, smart cities, artificial intelligence, 5G, smart agriculture, and other emerging fields to build the China-CELAC “Digital Silk Road”.
  • Fourthly, the two partners must ensure commitment to openness and collaboration for inclusive development. Wang Yi further reiterated that the two will jointly endeavor to defend multilateralism, inclusiveness, and effectiveness of global development to enhance fairness without leaving any country or person behind.
  • In that regard, China will establish the China-Caribbean Development Center to extend cooperation and exchanges with Caribbean countries for the implementation of the GDI.
  • Fifthly, the Chinese Minister urged that China and CELAC must work for the mutual benefit of their people. Besides, the main purpose of China-CELAC cooperation is to enhance the welfare of the people of both sides.
  • Also, China will offer 5,000 government scholarships and 3,000 training places to the regional countries, in the next two years. Furthermore, it welcomes regional countries to participate in the Paralympic Games and the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.

In concluding remarks, Wang Yi emphasized that whatever the international situation is, China-CELAC cooperation will keep thriving.

The Declaration of the Third Ministerial Meeting of the China-CELAC Forum was also adopted in the meeting along with the China-CELAC Joint Action Plan for Cooperation in Key Areas (2022-2024).