From The Nassau Guardian 21st March 2019
China yesterday fired back at the United States, accusing it of attempting to “disintegrate solidarity and cooperation between China and other developing countries” by inviting the prime minister and Caribbean leaders to meet with U.S. President Donald Trump to discuss, among other things, China’s “predatory economic practices” in the Caribbean.
Haigang Yin, charge d’affaires of the Embassy of The People’s Republic China in the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, called the U.S. accusations “fabricated lies and irresponsible accusations” that are “completely baseless, unreasonable and contradictory to the facts”.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis is expected to join the leaders of Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic and St. Lucia in a multilateral meeting with President Trump tomorrow in Mar-a-Lago, Palm Beach, Florida.
In a statement addressing the meeting, the White House Office of the Press Secretary said, “The president looks forward to working with countries in the region to strengthen our security cooperation and counter China’s predatory economic practices. The president will use this meeting as an opportunity to thank these countries for their support for peace and democracy in Venezuela.”
However, Yin, who was contacted for comment, told The Nassau Guardian that “organizing such a meeting demonstrates once again the attempt of the U.S. [to try] to disintegrate solidarity and cooperation between China and other developing countries, including the Caribbean”.
“The accusations of predatory economic practices are completely baseless, unreasonable and contradictory to the facts,” he said.
Yin added: “Facing the fabricated lies and irresponsible accusations, we have faith in the people of The Bahamas with whom rests the final judgment. We are confident that the Bahamian people and government will not be misled by others.”
When reached for a comment about the United States’ characterization of China, Foreign Affairs Minister Darren Henfield said yesterday, “Only the White House can explain what it means by that statement.”
Yin said the Chinese embassy “has been making every effort in strengthening the friendly relations, promoting trade and economic cooperation and people-to-people exchange of the two countries” since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1997.
He said China has maintained good cooperation with Caribbean countries, including The Bahamas, under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative.
“In fact, China-Caribbean cooperation has created a large number of local jobs and strongly boosted the host country’s development and improved people’s livelihood,” Yin said.
“Taking The Bahamas as an example, our bilateral cooperation has been very fruitful. The Thomas Robinson Stadium is a grant project from China, which is now being used to host international and regional sports event.
“The Airport [Gateway] has been built using concessional loans from China. The Baha Mar [resort] has been completed and created over 5,000 jobs for Bahamians and contributed substantially to the economy of The Bahamas.”
The Bahamas maintains good relationships with both the U.S. and China and hosts embassies for both countries.
While in opposition, Minnis was highly critical of the Christie administration’s reliance on Chinese investment.
During a political firestorm surrounding Baha Mar in 2016, Minnis questioned then Prime Minister Perry Christie’s loyalty to Bahamians after Hong Kong conglomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited announced that it had entered into negotiations to buy the resort.
He said that the announcement made it more and more clear that Christie was more concerned with “pleasing his Chinese allies”.
A few weeks later, Christie fired back at Minnis, asserting that the then opposition leader was creating “hysteria” over Chinese investment in the country.