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Guyana reiterates ‘One China’ policy; China silent on Guyana-Venezuela border controversy

Prime Minister, Moses Nagamootoo (left) and Chinese Ambassador to Guyana, Zhang Limin in discussions during a recent courtesy call (GINA photo)

For the first time since elected four months ago, government Wednesday publicly recommitted Guyana to the One China policy, but the Chinese government gave no signal that it would support Guyana in the border controversy with Venezuela.

Addressing a reception to mark the 66th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Acting President Moses Nagamootoo made it clear that the A Partnership for National Unity+ Alliance For Change (APNU+AFC)-led government would retain Guyana’s One China Policy dating back to June 27, 1972 when the two countries established diplomatic relations. “Since then, Guyana has consistently supported the “One China” policy, a support based on the principles of the United Nations Charter and respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of the People’s Republic of China,” he said.

China and the breakaway province of Taiwan have been engaged in a decades-old international tussle for recognition, with each other doling out millions of dollars in projects in several countries including a handful in the Caribbean Community (Caricom).

In exchange for Guyana respecting the rights of all countries to choose their own development-path, self-determination, and socio-economic and cultural goals within secured borders, the Acting President told the China Day reception that his country looked forward to support against Venezuela. “In this regard, Guyana expects the support of our friends for our national sovereignty and territorial integrity, especially at this time when fresh threats are raised against us,” said Nagamootoo.

China earlier this month signed off on a US$5 billion loan to help boost Venezuela’s oil production. That oil-rich but economically tattered country has so far borrowed US$50 billion from China throuh a 2007 oil-for-loans agreement that has helped Chinese companies expand into Venezuelan markets amid chronic shortages of food, medicines and other consumer goods.

When it was Chinese Ambassador, Zhang Limin’s turn to speak, he stayed clear of any reference to the Guyana-Venezuela border controversy and made a very veiled reference to Guyana’s consistent support for the One China Policy. “The development of relationship between China and Guyana has been fully supported by the successive administrations of Guyana.

Over the 43 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties, no matter how the international situation evolves, China-Guyana relations have maintained sound and stable development. We have constantly enhanced traditional friendship,” he said.

Both the Chinese envoy and the Acting President referred at length to cooperation between the two countries.

“The new administration of Guyana has made new plans to improve infrastructure and develop green economy. I believe that it will create more opportunities and greater space for the future cooperation between China and Guyana,” said Limin.

Nagamootoo said Guyana hoped to access funds from a loan project being offered to the Caribbean and Latin America. “We note with satisfaction China’s accelerated growth, which has enabled it to provide financial assistance to small states such as Guyana, and in this regard, Guyana welcomes the Fund for China-Caribbean cooperation under its broader 30-billion-US$ preferential-loan project.  We hope to access this facility, as Guyana takes a fresh approach to realizing the good life in a Green economy,” he said.

Limin said China has begun accepting the applications for Special Loans for Infrastructure Building Projects, Fund for China-Latin America and Caribbean Cooperation, and Preferential Loan for Latin American and the Caribbean Countries. “These measures will help integrate the adjustment of economic structure and development strategies, and further elevate the scale and level of cooperation between the two sides,” added the Chinese envoy.