Latin America & Caribbean

China leader Xi Jinping in Trinidad and Tobago

Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar welcomes Xi Jinping to Trinidad and Tobago
It was the first visit by a Chinese head of state to Trinidad and Tobago

Chinese President Xi Jinping has held meetings with the leaders of Trinidad and Tobago.

Mr Xi is the first Chinese head of state to visit the Caribbean nation.

The leaders of the two countries said their talks had focused on improving co-operation in the energy sector. Trinidad and Tobago has large oil and natural gas resources, while China is the world's largest consumer of energy.

Mr Xi is also travelling to Costa Rica, Mexico and the United States.

'Key partner'

"We both agree to actively advance co-operation in key areas of energy, minerals and infrastructure development and also to advance our cooperation in new energy, telecommunications and agriculture," Mr Xi said after meeting Prime Minister Kamla Persad-Bissessar.

Ms Persad-Bissessar said her country sees China "as a key business partner and potential new market for our energy products".

Energy Minister Kevin Ramnarine said Trinidad was hoping to benefit from China's strategy "to move the country away from coal and towards natural gas".

Mr Xi also announced that China would loan Trinidad and Tobago $250m (£165m) to build a children's hospital.

Trade between the two countries has been growing, with figures from the International Monetary Fund suggesting it has gone up from $174m to $450m over the last six years,

On Sunday, Mr Xi will meet with Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla.

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