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(CMC) – Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has defended Dominica’s relationship with China and brushed aside suggestions that the island is being used by Beijing to advance its influence, globally.
On Monday, the two countries signed an EC$120 million (One EC dollar=US$0.37 cents) economic and technical cooperation agreement that China said underscores its relationship with Roseau that was established 14 years ago, when the island broke diplomatic relations with Taiwan that Beijing considers a renegade province.
Just recently, the United States urged developing countries to be wary of China’s gifts, saying that Asian country was using its resources to make its presence felt globally.
“Sometimes in our society we cause ourselves to tag on to unnecessary discussions and so now there is the talk about countries should not engage China, countries should not enter into agreements with China because China is trying to dominate the world and China is trying to advance its influence on the Caribbean,” Skerrit said.
Skerrit lamented the fact that “some of us propagate this foolishness.
“We propagate it because we believe that it might be serving our purpose. I can say to you as the prime minister of this country and one who would have had the most direct contact with China that there is really nothing that Dominica has to give to China besides its friendship”.
He said Roseau also provides solidarity with Beijing “when it requires that solidarity, whether its natural disaster or China may need support of a candidacy on an international organisation”.
Skerrit said that China has not made “any undue demands on Dominica. China has not seek to, as some others have done, impose its will on Dominica.
“What China has been doing is every step of the way assisting this country with its economic and social development,” Skerrit said.
Earlier this month, Antigua and Barbuda’s Prime Minister Gaston Browne said rather than seek to criticism Beijing, Washington should seek to provide more aid to developing countries rather than spend billions on useless wars.
Browne was critical with Washington after Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo is reported to have warned countries against accepting gifts from Beijing.
He also warned developing countries to be wary of Chinese companies coming with projects that seem to good to be true.
But Prime Minister Browne said that Beijing had played a significant role over the years in the socio-economic development of Caribbean countries and that Washington would do well to follow suit and stop wasting resources on useless wars.
“Those who are opposed to China’s deepening influence in the hemisphere need to talk less and perhaps they need to put some diplomatic dollars or development assistance…on the table,” he added.