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Xi offers Caribbean nations support

(China Daily)

08:49, June 04, 2013

President Xi Jinping and his wife Peng Liyuan arrive at San Jose, capital of Costa Rica, on Sunday. Lan Hongguang / Xinhua

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President Xi Jinping vowed continued support for the Caribbean region as he met a group of Caribbean leaders in Trinidad and Tobago.

During lunch and in separate meetings, Xi met leaders from the Bahamas, Barbados, Dominica, Granada, Guyana, Jamaica and Suriname.

He renewed China's efforts to support Caribbean nations' development by stepping up initiatives from the third China-Caribbean Trade and Economic Cooperation Forum in 2011.

He pledged assistance in projects such as setting up one or two agricultural technology centers within the next three years, sending 100 medical workers to the region, training 100 postgraduate students and providing 1,000 scholarships for students.

During the 2011 forum, China offered the Caribbean region a $6 billion loan to support development projects.

"President Xi's pledge to provide assistance in agriculture, education and healthcare represents a good step toward building a relationship based on a serious commitment to help Caribbean nations overcome their problems," said Ariel C. Armony, director for the Center for Latin American Studies at the University of Miami.

Armony said China's presence in the Caribbean through work on stadiums, resorts, hospitals and other projects should not just be viewed as simple infrastructure donated to countries that are poor in resources.

"A national stadium in the Bahamas represents a celebration of national identity and a chance for citizens to assert a sense of nationhood," Armony said. "Beijing understands well that this is a way to build a long-term relationship with countries that are eager to receive attention from the global power."

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