China announced on Monday it will provide $1 billion in loans to Caribbean countries to finance infrastructure projects as it deepens ties in a region historically linked with the United States.
The loans will be made available through the state-run China Development Bank, China's Vice Premier Wang Qishan told a meeting of Caribbean and Chinese officials in Port of Spain, capital of oil and gas producer Trinidad and Tobago.
"China cannot develop itself in isolation of the world and the world needs China for its development," he said.
The financial help comes as many Caribbean countries struggle with stagnant economies hit by anemic growth in the United States and Europe, the traditional sources of investment and visitors for many of the region's tourism-dependent states.
China's wooing of the Caribbean is part of a global push by Beijing promoting loans and investment while seeking natural resources and political influence in the developing world from Africa to Latin America.
Wang said trade between China and the Caribbean had grown annually by 24 percent and reached $7.2 billion in 2010. more