Dominican President Danilo Medina is about to hold a state visit to China this month at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping.
The Dominican dance performed at the country exhibition in the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai. (Photo: VCG)
It will be the first meeting between the two heads of state since the two countries established diplomatic relations on May 1.
The Dominican Republic, China’s new friend from the other side of the world, is a shining pearl in the Caribbean.
With a GDP growth of around 6 percent for years, it is one of the best-performing economies in Latin America in the past 25 years. As the largest economy in Central America and the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic has signed free trade deals with 48 countries and established nearly 70 bonded areas.
In addition, thanks to its beautiful and unique natural sceneries, the country is also a popular tourist attraction. It is one of the countries that earned the most foreign exchange through tourism in South America, Central America, and the Caribbean, receiving over 6 million international tourists in 2017.
Besides, the country’s merengue dance, which has been listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the UNESCO, as well as the immensely popular sport of baseball, are also major attractions of the country.
The Dominican Republic is actively engaged in international and regional affairs, safeguarding multilateralism and free trade. Not long ago, it was elected as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for a two-year term from 2019-2020.
The establishment of diplomatic ties between China and the Dominican Republic ushered in a new chapter of bilateral relations. It was a wise decision made by the two heads of state and a natural development of history, conforming to the basic interests of the two countries and the common aspiration of the two peoples.
Bilateral relations between the two countries maintained stability in its initial stage, with their long-waiting potential for cooperation gradually being released.
The exchanges between governments, congresses, and political parties were frequently conducted. The Dominican Republic set up a special office to coordinate affairs related to cooperation with China. The two sides also signed agreements to establish a political consultation mechanism, a traffic rights arrangement and human resource training.
In the first eight months of the year, bilateral trade between the two countries rose 23 percent from a year ago. Many Chinese enterprises have set up branches and representative offices in that country. The first dialogue between the think tanks of the two countries was also held recently.
The first state visit to China by Medina and other top government and enterprise officials is of historic importance. It signals that the two countries are mutually-independent friends, complementary partners, and excellent members of international society.
It is believed that under the leadership of the two heads of state, China and the Dominican Republic are bound to create a better future with the new blueprint for future cooperation they have mapped out.
(Zhang Run is the Chinese Ambassador to the Dominican Republic)