Antigua Prime Minister Spencer Pledges Closer Cooperation with China


Above: Antigua PM Baldwin Spencer with Chinese officials (Photo: ABG)

By the Caribbean Journal staff

Antiguan Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer is pledging to forge closer ties with China and continue its support for the One China policy, he said following a meeting with Chinese official Yang Wanming.

Yang, who is on a visit to the country, is the Director-General of the Chinese Foreign Ministry’s Department of Latin American and Caribbean Affairs.

“We appreciate the numerous projects that China has funded in Antigua and Barbuda and re-affirm our support for the One China policy,” Spencer said.

Those projects range from a laptop distribution programme and the hand-over of a 30-megawatt power plant in Crabbes last September.

The two countries’ strong relationship has not escaped controversy, however. Criticism of the power plant’s quality, particularly by the opposition, led Spencer and Chinese officials to hold a joint press conference to address the charges in early February.

The power plant was funded by a $47 million loan facility from the EXIM Bank of China.

“China will continue to provide economic aid to Antigua and Barbuda to include the construction of a secondary school, a community centre, and a new airport terminal building,” Yang said. “We also hope to strengthen our cooperation in agriculture, new technologies and infrastructural development.”

In November, Antigua broke ground on the new terminal at VC Bird International Airport, which is being built by the China Civil Engineering Construction Company.

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