Korea, China praise Caricom, announce additional funding

The content originally appeared on: Trinidad and Tobago Newsday

Flags representing Caricom nations raised at the Chaguaramas Convention Centre in observance of the 45th Caricom heads of goverment summit on Tuesday. – Photo by Angelo Marcelle

SOUTH Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-Soo says his country’s financial contributions to Caricom will increase fivefold in 2024. In addition, the Chinese government announced a US $1 million increase in its funding towards disaster prevention in the region. Both countries hailed Caricom and urged the community to continue making strides.

This was announced on day two of the 45th Caricom heads of government summit being held in TT.

Speaking at the Hyatt Regency, Port of Spain, on Tuesday, South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo congratulated Caricom on celebrating its 50th anniversary.

He said there has been a lot of progress related to Caribbean integration, human and social development, foreign policy co-ordination and security outreach.

“As a beacon of regional integration, Caricom has inspired regions worldwide, including Korea with its unity and harmony,” he said.

Noting that Caricom has been a “steadfast friend” to Korea for decades, he said the community plays a significant role in shared knowledge and experiences.

He said Korea will assist in areas including climate change, marine environment, the food sector, renewable energy and health.

In a local newspaper article on Tuesday, Han was quoted as saying Korea’s current contributions to Caricom stand at US$600,000.

At the summit, he said this was going to increase to US$3 million next year to show Korea’s “unwavering commitment to Caricom.

“Korea looks forward to forging a brighter future together with Caricom for the next 50 years and beyond.”

China’s assistant minister of foreign affairs Hua Chunying hailed Caricom as “the most important integration-oriented institution in this region.”

She said the community has stayed committed to strength, unity and development, adding that China supports its hard work and hopes it will achieve even greater things.

Commenting on China’s long-standing relationship with the Caribbean, she said it is a “shining example of mutual respect (and) mutual benefit.

She added that China will continue assisting Caribbean economies to the best of its abilities.

In announcing the additional contribution to disaster prevention, she said she understands the circumstances and concerns of small-island developing states “and is ready to work with them.”

Commonwealth secretary-general Patricia Scotland said it was a great day for Caricom and thanked it for its continued assistance.

Through this partnership, she said, both entities represent a third of the world’s population.

“All Caricom members are cherished friends and partners.”

She said Caricom has shown 50 years of leadership, wisdom, vision and moral courage.

Scotland, a Dominican, said, “I am proud to be part of you and to come from you.”

Former Commonwealth secretary general, Sir Shridath Ramphal, told members while he understands they’re still seeking “more oneness,” they are already united.

“We are already one. Altogether, one people.”