45 years of diplomatic relations Republic of Suriname and the People's Republic of China May 28, 1976 - May 28, 202128-05-2021
On May 28, 1976, the Republic of Suriname and the People's Republic of China signed the Joint Communiqué in New York, establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. In 1976, the People's Republic of China was the first to open an Embassy in Suriname, followed by the Suriname Embassy in Beijing in May 1998.
The Soviet Russian "People's Daily" welcomed the establishment of diplomatic relations with Suriname. China has made "a new friend in Latin America" and "we are delighted by that," the paper wrote. It expressed concern about Russian influence in Latin America and stated that the peoples of China and Suriname "had been in similar situations in the past and have a common task to fight against imperialism, colonialism and domination."
From the time of establishment of diplomatic relations, each Government of Suriname has consistently adhered to friendly ties in general, and to the One China Policy in particular. The One China Policy is a diplomatic recognition that Taiwan and Hong Kong are constituent states of China, and that there is only one Chinese government.
The People's Republic of China, for its part, has also consistently provided support in completing cooperation projects aimed at the development of Suriname. It is important to mention that several projects have been realized both with the Chinese Government and with the Chinese business community as well. The relationship between Suriname and China has developed in recent years in a warm atmosphere, based on mutual benefit and mutual respect.
The bilateral relationship between the Republic of Suriname and the People's Republic of China is one of strategic value and importance, based on the results that the implementation of the relationship has had throughout the years for the national development of Suriname in general, and various sectors in particular. Some of these include trade and economic cooperation, culture, education and capacity building, housing, infrastructure, the agricultural sector, security and community development.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation will continue to use its responsibility for the implementation and coordination of foreign policy as an instrument to achieve maximum use of the possibilities within this relationship within the current developments.
On October 20, 1853, Chinese immigrants first set foot in Suriname. In connection with this, The Suriname Chinese United Association (SCUA) in cooperation with the "Suriname-China Friendship Association" organized a photo exhibition in November 2019, with the theme "The Chinese in me". This memorable event commemorated 166 years of Chinese immigration to Suriname. The organizations were supported in this project by the Embassy of China in Paramaribo. The winners had an organized trip to China to further investigate their Chinese roots.
A get-together of the delegation of “The Chinese in Me” who visited China in 2019.
The Suriname - China Friendship Association
On September 1, 2021, the organization will have its 47th anniversary. This organization is older than the Suriname-China diplomatic relationship and according to the current Ambassador of the People's Republic of China in Suriname, H.E. Liu Quan, it is probably one of the first in the region.
Besides the good ties on diplomatic and bilateral level, more and more Surinamese are showing interest in China and the Chinese culture. To give substance to this, numerous activities are organized such as the Chinese Temple Market, the Chinese Film Festival and Fashion Shows.
Chinese-style fashion show at a gala observing 165th anniversary of the Chinese settlement in Suriname.
In February 2017, the official opening of a Confucius Institute (CI) took place. The institute is located at the Anton de Kom University of Suriname (AdeKUS).
Having a CI can be considered a milestone in diplomatic ties between the two countries. The institute provides education in Mandarin, trains teachers in that language and provides teaching aids. It also organizes proficiency tests in Chinese (HSK examinations) and tests for certification of teachers in Chinese.
Furthermore, the institute provides information on applications for scholarships and fellowships from China and assists in applying for these scholarships. It also supervises exchange programs between China and Suriname in the areas of language, culture and education. The Confucius Institute aims to spread knowledge of Chinese language and culture and to strengthen cultural ties between China and other countries by promoting cultural exchange, among other things.
Sister City Ties
Within the framework of the various sister city ties, we also look at the many strategic cooperation opportunities, primarily, but not limited to, in the areas of economy, trade, science and technology, culture, education, sports and health care, aimed at sustainable economic growth for both cities.
The various sister city ties are:
- Paramaribo - Hangzhou, MOU signed on May 23, 1998
- Para - Xianning, MOU signed on September 2014
To enhance cooperation between Suriname and Zhejiang Province (sister city ties), a delegation from the People's Republic of China, paid a working visit to Suriname in the period September 19 - 21, 2019. A return visit to China from Suriname took place in October 2019.
Former Para District Commissioner, Mr. Armand Jurel, and Xianning Mayor, Mr. Wang Yuan He, after signing the letter of intent.
Zhejiang is one of China's most developed and prosperous Provinces, located in the eastern coastal region of China in the south of the Yangtze River. The city of Hangzhou can be characterized as the center for politics, economy and culture of Zhejiang Province. The city is known for both tourist purposes as well as its industrial nature. The well-known "Alibaba Group Holding Limited", has its origins in this city, where today its head quarter is still located.
Suriname and China will pragmatically implement the current cooperation on the basis of this agreement.
Education and capacity building
The People's Republic of China provides annual scholarships for academic studies to Surinamese Nationals. This is done in close cooperation with the Ministry of Education, Science and Culture. These are academic studies at Bachelor, Master and Doctoral level.
For the 2020 academic year, 13 students are eligible for a fully sponsored scholarship.
Furthermore, China also offers "Short term" trainings to Suriname for qualified persons from both the private and public sectors, the costs of which are fully covered by the Chinese Government. To Suriname bilateral trainings are also been offered, whereby 20-25 officials can be delegated for each of the trainings.
Due to the outbreak of the COVID-19 virus in 2020, no physical trainings have been offered for that academic year. However, virtual trainings will be started for various sectors and Ministries.
Reunion reception for Surinamese short-term trainees in China.
Belt and Road Initiative
China's Belt and Road Initiative began in 2013 as the One Belt, One Road Initiative, with the goal of building a comprehensive network of trade routes around the world. In early 2017, a two-day high-level meeting was held in Beijing with nearly 28 world leaders, as well as representatives from 70 countries, where the initiative was further discussed.
The Belt and Road Initiative aligns with the goals and principles of the UN Charter. It upholds the five principles of peaceful coexistence: mutual respect for each other's sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. The "One Belt, One Road" covers 64 countries and the financing of this project has been estimated at about US$4-8 billion.
On May 25, 2018, Suriname realized the signing of an MOU, regarding the "Framework of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road Initiative", with 5 priorities including the "people-to-people" contacts.
Within this framework, various ( infrastructure) projects and seminars are being implemented, including the "China-Caribbean Conference on the "One Belt and One Road Initiative (BRI)" and "Belt & Road Initiative Summit".
Some of the projects include the construction of the Wanica Hospital, the broadband network and the Dalian IV asphalt project.
Main Building of Wanica Hospital donated by the Chinese government.
Suriname National Infrastructure projects (Dalian IV) - Beekhuizen Bridge.
Suriname National Infrastructure Projects (Dalian IV) - New Zanderij Highway.
Suriname National Infrastructure projects (Dalian IV) - Beekhuizen Bridge.
Suriname National Infrastructure Projects (Dalian IV) - Martin Luther Kingweg (Highway).
The Chinese government has many times emphasized the importance of cooperation between, among others, China and Suriname. In that context, several development projects have been financed and implemented. One of the projects concerns the construction of a new headquarters for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in 2006.
China-aid Maintenance Project of the Office Building of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Sophia's Lust Community Center
On October 16, 2017, the Sophia's Lust Community Center was officially completed and handed over to the community of Sophia's Lust. This multi-purpose center was a donation from the People's Republic of China for the community of Sophia's Lust.
In addition to a playground, the community center features a fitness room, a computer lab, as well as a room for conducting sessions and training. The community center can also be used as a meeting center for informational purposes.
China-Aid Sophia’s Lust Community Center completed in October 2017.
Furthermore, in 2016 Suriname received a US$115 million grant from China. The donation was made as part of 40 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries. The money has been planned to be spent on several projects, including the construction of 350 houses.
As part of the implementation of the housing project and other projects supported by the People's Republic of China, an agreement was signed between Suriname and China on September 13, 2017, based on economic and technical cooperation between the two countries. This agreement includes a grant from the Chinese Government to Suriname.
Suriname has assisted the Chinese Government with protective equipment in the fight against the COVID-19 virus and in turn the Chinese Government is doing the same to the Surinamese Government. Within the framework of "China's solidarity in the fight against the growing Covid-19 pandemic", there have been various donations from both the private and public sectors to the Surinamese government and society.
Some of these include:
- Donation of some personal protective equipment from the "Surinamese Chinese United Association (SCUA)" to the Ministry of Health;
- Donation from the Embassy of China of 23 respirators to the Ministry of Health;
- A donation from the Sister City of Zhejiang, which was received by the Minister of BIBIS, Ambassador Albert Ramdin;
- A donation of 20,000 disposable mouth masks to The National Assembly.
Ambassador Liu Quan donated Covid-19 equipment on behalf of the Chinese government to H.E. President Santokhi in July 2020.
Ambassador Liu Quan donated PPE to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, International Business and International Cooperation, H.E. Albert Ramdin, in July 2020.
According to Ambassador Liu Quan, the Chinese Government intends to further strengthen cooperation, particularly regarding the handling of the COVID-19 virus. The need for Suriname is now much greater than just obtaining PPEs. The People's Republic of China has achieved successful results with regard to the production of vaccines against the COVID-19 virus. There will be a mutual examination of how the distribution (purchasing and/or sponsoring) will be done in this regard.
The way forward
For more than 45 years there has been cooperation between Suriname and China in the social, economic, cultural and political fields.
In recent years various projects have been implemented, the best known of which are the infrastructure projects. Within the current cooperation, some project proposals have been discussed and will be further coordinated. The proposals are mainly in the agricultural sector, traditional medicine and housing.
As indicated by Minister Ramdin, the Government intends to strengthen and further expand the relationship with the People's Republic of China and make full use of mutual opportunities.