China opens largest Caribbean embassy in Trinidad & Tobago

China’s Ambassador to Trinidad and Tobago Song Yumin tries his hands at playing the steel pan, surrounded by members of the Trinidad and Tobago Chinese Steel Orchestra.

(Trinidad Express) The People’s Republic of China has opened in Maraval its largest embassy in the English-speaking Caribbean ­region.

The sprawling and stunning new diplomatic premises, set on two and half acres of land at 76 Long Circular Road, was officially opened on Wednesday evening by Chinese Ambassador Song Yumin.

The lavish property includes flats for staff, tennis courts and a swimming pool.

Song told the Express the search for new premises began ten years ago, with the help of the Trinidad and Tobago Government. Construction at the Maraval site, located opposite the Trinidad Country Club, started four years ago by a team of Chinese developers.

In his speech, Song said he regards the embassy as a “fresh fruit” of China-T&T friendship.

He said the building itself is significant, as it is designed and constructed in China’s “Hui-style” architecture—a significant school developed as early as in the Song Dynasty some 1,000 years back.

Song said the white walls, dark tiles, corbie gables and decorations with brick artwork are the striking features.

“I believe it contributes to the expansion of the architecture diversity in Port of Spain, and it bears symbolic significance of cultural ­exchanges,” he said.

The ambassador added efforts were made to embrace the “green development concept” and technology.

For example, solar energy for hot water, energy-saving lighting, and kitchen fume purification devices are used.

He said throughout the whole course of construction they received full support and assistance from the Ministry of Foreign and Caricom Affairs, from the Port of Spain City Corporation and other relevant Government departments of T&T, as well as from the local Chinese community.

Song said the relations between both countries are becoming closer and stronger, and the Chinese support the diversification of T&T’s economy as China’s own economy is restructuring.

Enhanced trust

He described the event as one of significance in the development of the China-T&T relationship, which dates back two centuries, when the first Chinese immigrants arrived in Trinidad in 1806.

Song said Chinese President Xi Jinping’s successful state visit to Trinidad and Tobago in 2013 unveiled a “new era” of enhanced political mutual trust, and deepened exchanges and cooperation in various fields between both countries.

He noted that in May, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley’s official visit to China gave “momentum” to the already vibrant relations between the two countries.

Song said China and T&T joined hands in building a Silk Road Economic Belt and a 21st Century Mari­time Silk Road on the basis of mutual consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.

Such cooperation, he said, is comprehensive, and includes all sectors.

Song said next year there will be celebrations for the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between China and Trinidad and Tobago.

He said there will be cultural displays at the new embassy.

“Our cultural exchanges and people-to-people links have never been stronger,” he said.

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