Guardian Media’s Lead Editor TV Hema Ramkissoon conducts an exclusive interview with China’s Ambassador to T&T Song Yumin.

China’s Ambassador to this country Song Yumin said the relationship between Trinidad and Tobago and China remains strong.

In an exclusive interview with Guardian Media, the Ambassador broke his silence on this country’s handling of the Coronovius global scare.

Last month the government implemented a travel restriction against all foreign nationals travelling from or transiting through mainland China from entering TT.

The government described the move as necessary to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus

The restriction meant that TT nationals and permanent residents returning from China will not be allowed to enter the country for 14 days – the virus’ maximum incubation period – after leaving China.

Ambassador Song Yumin said the restriction does not put a dent in the relationship between the two countries.

“When in difficult times, a friend in need is a friend indeed. Trinidad and Tobago has been a longtime friend of China, this was one of the first countries to sign onto the Silk Road initiative. The relationship has gotten stronger day by day and the difficult times will make us stronger,” said the Ambassador.

The diplomat steered clear of stating his position on the travel restriction, he insisted that the Embassy cannot influence national policy.

He said the lines of communication remain open between the Embassy and the TT government.

“ We have been in close communication with the government on a regular basis since the outbreak, communications have been intensified. We have kept communication frequent, in an open frank and transparent mater.”

The conversation has been not just a formality of updates but on technical assistance as well

“Just this morning a package of medical solutions was prepared by the Chinese government disease control prevention centre, that package was handed to over the ministry,” he said.

This country has a number of commercial ties with Chinese firms, particularly in the construction sector, Guardian Medias asked if the travel limitation affected productivity?

“ I think they are fine and doing well on the construction sites. Given the nature of the work and the distance of TT and China they are not involved with frequent travels.”

Citing the Curepe interchange as an example, he said that projects have not been affected.

Ambassador Yumin said, “China takes seriously its position in this matter and strict measures have been taken to cut off the transmission.”

As countries in the Caribbean continue to close their borders to China in light of the virus, the Ambassador is steadfast, relations will survive.

“We do have a bilateral relationship and corporations with several countries in the Caribbean, they will continue and will not be impacted.”

Chinese President Xi Jinping has urged his people to “have confidence” that China will win its battle against the coronavirus epidemic that has killed more than 900 people on the mainland.

A total of 40,171 infections have been confirmed in mainland China, most of the fatalities are in Wuhan and the surrounding Hubei province.