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Xi's visit to Trinidad and Tobago to boost China-Caribbean ties


10:27, May 31, 2013

PORT OF SPAIN, May 30 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping will arrive in Trinidad and Tobago Friday for a three-day state visit, the first to the English-speaking Caribbean by a Chinese head of state.

"Xi's visit is of particular historic significance. It shows China is committed to developing relations with Trinidad and Tobago as well as the Caribbean," said Huang Xingyuan, China's ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago.

During his stay, Xi will meet President Anthony Thomas Aquinas Carmona, Senate President Timothy Hamel-Smith and House of Representatives Speaker Wade Mark, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Xi will also hold talks with Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar and the two leaders will attend a ceremony to mark the construction of a children's hospital funded by China.

The two sides are expected to sign a number of documents on cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and education.

In addition, Xi will hold bilateral meetings with leaders from Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the Bahamas, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Surinam and Jamaica, all of which have diplomatic ties with China.

"The meetings will have a profound impact on China's relationship with the Caribbean countries," Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zhang Kunsheng has said.

China and Trinidad and Tobago have had diplomatic relations for 39 years. The country is China's major partner of cooperation in the Caribbean.

It is one of the most prosperous nations in the region, thanks largely to petroleum and natural gas production and processing. Trade between the two countries was valued at 627 million U.S. dollars in 2011.

In a statement issued last week, Persad-Bissessar said Trinidad and Tobago had noted the rapid rise of China on the world stage and hoped Xi's visit would foster greater cooperation with China.

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