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Backgrounder: Basic facts about Trinidad and Tobago


13:11, May 31, 2013

BEIJING, May 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping left for a state visit to Trinidad and Tobago Friday, the first visit by a Chinese president to the English-speaking Caribbean nation.

The following are some basic facts about the country:

Covering an area of 5,128 square km at the northern edge of South America, Trinidad and Tobago has a population over 1.3 million with Port of Spain as its capital.

The name "Trinidad" was first given by world-famous Italian navigator Christopher Columbus, who arrived in Trinidad Island in 1498. The country declared independence on Aug. 31, 1962, and the date has been its National Day ever since.

English is the country's official language, and its currency is Trinidad and Tobago dollar.

The country abounds in paradise birds and wood nymphs. Pitch Lake, lying in the southwest of the country, is the largest natural deposit of asphalt in the world.

Oil industry has played a major role in the country's economy since 1970, currently accounting for about 40 percent of its GDP.

Trinidad and Tobago established diplomatic relations with China on June 20, 1974.

With the establishment of "friendly and cooperative relationship of mutual benefit and development" in 2005, the two countries have witnessed frequent high-level exchanges.

The bilateral trade surpassed 627 million U.S. dollars in 2011, according to Chinese Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Huang Xingyuan.

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