Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley has called on the Opposition UNC to stop embarrassing the Chinese government on the so-called withdrawal of invitation for him to visit the country.
“Leave the Chinese Government and the people alone.”
Answering a question from the Opposition to state the precise factors that may have led to the Chinese government withdrawing its invitation for an official visit in late November/early December, Rowley said there was no invitation for any official visit to China “in 2018, no official visit in 2017.
“As there is no official visit there could be no withdrawal. The mischief that the member is aiming to make is with respect to a conference which I had been invited to by the President of China, subsequent to the Chinese congress.”
He said immediately after the congress, he was invited to attend a multi head conference led by the Chinese authorities. “Apparently, that conference has since been reviewed and the event is not taking place any longer. Since I had been invited to something that had been removed from the programme, clearly there could be no withdrawal of invitation in that situation.”
Since then, he said, the Chinese government has invited him on an official visit to China.
“That is now being planned and I anticipate that will take place sometime in the spring. The mischief of withdrawal of invitation should end here, and stop embarrassing the Chinese.”
Asked by UNC MP Rodney Charles, in the interest of transparency, to make available the official invitation by the Chinese government, Rowley said, “I would like to appeal to the colleagues on the other side. There are other ways of making political mischief. Leave the Chinese government and people out of this.” He said, Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister Stuart Young has provided the media with the necessary documentation and from where it came.
“I cannot for the life of me, see any official in this country, especially a parliamentarian, would want to be so misrepresenting this matter and embarrass a major partner of Trinidad and Tobago. I would answer no further question on this matter.”
Rowley is to visit China next month to participate in a meeting with nine other world leaders. On November 9, Young at a post Cabinet press conference announced that the Chinese government had invited Rowley to China to meet with nine other leaders from across the world between November 30 to December 3, where he was expected to take part in high level meetings in Beijing. Following that from December 4 to December 9, Young had said, there was going to be a state visit where Rowley was scheduled to tour other areas in China.