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Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves. (iWN file photo)
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By Paul Clarke

Jamaica Gleaner

One of the Caribbean’s most influential political leaders says the United States should not worry about the deepening relations between China and countries of the region.

“I don’t believe we have anything to fear from the Chinese,” said Ralph Gonsalves, the four-term prime minister of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. “Our U.S. friends need not worry as they will, based on shared history, remain the region’s number-one partner for trade and security,” he told The Gleaner.

Jamaica is among countries that have signed on to China’s Belt and Road Initiative, further deepening relations with the Asian superpower.

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Amid the deepening ties, just over a week ago, Admiral Craig Fuller, the commander of the United States Southern Command, said that Jamaica should be wary of China’s presence in the region. United States Ambassador to Jamaica Donald Tapia ratcheted up the rhetoric when he described China as a “dragon with two heads”.

But Gonsalves, whose country was recently elected as a non-permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, insists that there is no basis for a negative relationship with China or the United States.

“The Americans and the Chinese really have an excellent relationship, but it’s one in which they cooperate and rival each other and operate in their respective interests,” said Gonsalves, adding that Caribbean countries should not have to choose between the two economic competitors.

Best interests

Citing his country’s 38-year diplomatic relation with Taiwan as opposed to mainland China, Gonsalves said that regional territories should be able to freely choose what is in their best interests. He also said that despite St Vincent’s alignment, his country interacts well with the Caribbean Development Bank, the World Bank, and the International Monetary Fund.

“We also work with them in the United Nations and will, as of January 2020, work with them as part of the UN Security Council, so my point is that all I want to see is peace across the Strait of Taiwan, and the Chinese civilisation, with their different political expressions will sort out their problems with the help of Jamaica or St Vincent and the Grenadines,” said Gonsalves.

In June, SVG was elected, along with four other nations, to the UN Security Council, becoming the smallest nation ever to secure a seat. Also elected were Niger, Tunisia, Vietnam, and Estonia.

The five states will take up their seats as non-permanent members of the Security Council in January 2020, replacing Côte d’Ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Kuwait, Peru, and Poland.

Gonsalves said that his small nation will be impartial in its stance and will be guided by international law. He also said that he would be taking note of all the geopolitical moves being made in the region.

Cumulatively, China has invested more than US$100 billion in the Belt and Road Initiative, with the value of construction projects alone topping US$720 billion.

5 replies on “Gonsalves to US: Don’t worry over China’s Caribbean relations”

  1. The PM songs like a political telling the NDP not to have diplomatic Relationship with China.But you are saying that the Caribbean should not have to make a choice between the USA and China.But the NDP Should make a choice between China and Taiwan.Mr PM who you think you are or what you think you are doing.The statements in that interview was very stopped and backward . The fact that you have diplomatic Relationship with Taiwan and you advise against SVG having diplomatic Relationship with China.So how can you say that the USA should not worry about the Caribbean moving closer to China.MR PM did China voted for SVG to be on the Security Consul.?MR pm you may be playing some very serious diplomatic game.That can harm this country and your slef should have allow the Jamaica PM to make that statement the fact that they have diplomatic Relationship with them.Some thing is not right with your statement.The fact that a few weeks ago China was not the best diplomatic choice for St Vincent.Mr pm l really think you should seek mental help because something don’t add up.

  2. This is nothing unusual for an untrustworthy politician like this fellow, to be so utterly hypocritical in his dealings with others. A real snake in the grass! Have you never noticed this before MR MAC? He runs with the hare and hunts with the hounds.

    This is the kind of flawed character the man is! Utterly cunning and not to be taken at his word at all! Though he would call it survival in politics!

    More fools us for having allowed him to occupy the chair that he now occupies and now look! Like Mugabe, Castro, Chavez and now Maduro, nations can never get rid of them when they want to. However, I see that the Bolivians were able to get their charlatan trickster to hot-foot it to Mexico.

    You have to give it to them MR MAC, with their sweet and double talk, they do get their sycophants beguiled as they spin their flattering hypocritical yarn.

  3. B Sc. Sociology with a minor in International Relations says:

    Mr Mac as you can see the political games have turned innocent and unsuspecting vincentians into pawns and it is unfortunate….as you rightfully said, this is a serious diplomatic game that can cost the lives of vincentians…..Our leaders have been dealing with a lot of underhanded diplomacy which placed a very dark cloud over our country…Our audacity of Hope depends on a complete change and disassociation from these leaders by 2020!! We need a savior!!!!!

  4. B Sc. Sociology with a minor in International Relations says:

    “In a time of deceit, telling the TRUTH is a Revolutionary Act” ~George Orwell~

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