18th Tsinghua Ambassador Talks: Barbados

The Honorable Mr. Chelston W.D. Brathwaite visited Tsinghua campus on Wednesday, May 18, 2016 to deliver a lecture to IR department students. He gave a speech on the good relations between Barbados and China—a relation that has been established since 1977—both in a bilateral as well as a regional context in the Caribbean.

The Ambassador gave a brief introduction his native country of Barbados, the most eastern island state in the Caribbean. The island is renowned for its world-class tourism, high quality food and beverages, notably the Barbadian rum, stunning beaches, as well as for its cultural ambassador: the world singer and a native Barbadian, Rihanna. The country is also known as provider offshore financial services, albeit one that fully complies with the OECD regulations on foreign assets parking and investment.

Mr. Brathwaite later talked about their relationship with China and the role China can play in small island states like Barbados. Since the dawn of the diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1977, Barbados has embraced the One China policy; a move was rather unusual at the time and thus is highly esteemed by the Chinese government. Recently China has agreed to provide the island state with $170 million loan to renovate one of the main landmarks of Barbados. Officially perceived as a middle-income country, Barbados is customarily unqualified to procure concessional loans. China also provides a new market for Barbadian national brand of rum, which has been recently introduced in China to cater the premium segment. With its first class tourism, Barbados is also hoping to charm more Chinese tourists to come and spend their holiday on the island.

The event concluded with a Q&A session, in which Tsinghua IR students showed their interests on a variety of themes; among others, on the Ambassador’s career change from a scientist in Agriculture to a civil servant, on the national debate to replace the Queen of England as the head of state of Barbados, and on the repercussion of its close relations with China in regard to other world powers.