Thu | May 25, 2017

China seek greater role in the Americas

Published:Saturday | January 17, 2015 | 1:24 PM
--PLEASE DO CUT-OUT OF BOTH MEN-- FILE - In this July 22, 2014 file photo, Cuba's Fidel Castro, right, greets China's President Xi Jinping in Havana, Cuba. in Havana, Cuba.

another as to how they wish to proceed with the detail.

Although CELAC has recognised the need for the Caribbean to have a continuing role in the new body's leadership though whichever Prime Minister is the interim chair of Caricom, the overall Caribbean messaging seems unchanged.

The Caribbean's focus remains on resources to enable it to address continuing indebtedness and budgetary problems.

In remarks that seemed not quite to share China's development vision, let alone the detail of what the agreed co-operation plan proposes, the Bahamas Prime Minister, speaking in Beijing on behalf of Caricom, instead welcomed China's US$3 billion 2013 commitment for investment on concessional terms, while indicating that the region also wanted to use this funding for budgetary support, debt restructuring and refinancing.

Prime Minister Christie said in addition, in the context of the threat that climate change poses to the region, cooperation with China should consider the provision of resources according to the needs and priorities of the recipient countries. He also said that CARICOM was seeking international support to eliminate the practice that has graduated the region out of western development assistance.

Space does not permit much more on this subject this week, the difficulties of delivering in a Caribbean context what China is now proposing, or how China might better support in practical terms a region that is small and fragmented.

It does however suggest that the region should now look with greater political intensity across the Pacific; contrast China's approach and values with North America and Europe's limited but culturally familiar offers; and focus more on why CELAC has become the vehicle of choice for China as well as Europe for their high policy level policy dialogue with Latin America and the Caribbean.

n David Jessop is director of the Caribbean Council. david.jessop@caribbean-council.org