The Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs has announced that Chinese officials have withdrawn the invitation to Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley to attend a 'high-level meeting' in China this year.
A statement by the ministry says the prime minister has instead been invited to visit China on a State Visit next year.
Last week Minister Stuart Young announced that the prime minister would attend the high-level meeting and then proceed immediately on a state visit.
However, the statement issued today indicates that the Chinese Ambassador has instead shifted the state visit to next year, which comes as a replacement to the invitation for the high-level meeting.
The following is the Ministry's statement.
"For the past year, the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago has been working on a number of initiatives with the People's Republic of China, and as part of these initiatives there were discussions for an official visit to China by the Prime Minister Dr. the Honourable Keith Rowley.
On October 27, 2017 the People's Republic of China extended an invitation to the Prime Minister to attend "the Communist Party of a China with World Political Parties High-Level Meeting", themed "Work together to Build a Community of Shared Future for Mankind and a Beautiful World", in Beijing, China from November 30 to December 3 with a continuing visit from December 4 to 9, 2017.
The Chinese indicated that there would be nine other world leaders invited to these High-Level meetings.
Having regard to the importance of the relationship between our countries and the initiatives being worked on, the Honourable Prime Minister accepted this invitation and preparations were commenced for his attendance and visit to China.
On Thursday 9 November, 2017 the Minister in the Office of the Prime Minister and Minister in the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs, the Honourable Stuart Young, announced the Prime Minister's visit to China which was based on his acceptance of the said invitation to attend the High-Level meetings.
On November 14, 2017 Ambassador Song Yumin paid a visit to Minister Stuart Young at the Ministry of the Attorney General and Legal Affairs and officially discussed with Minister Young that the Chinese, attaching great importance to the development of the relations between China and Trinidad and Tobago would like to invite the Honourable Prime Minister to pay an Official Visit to China next year, replacing the invitation of the High-Level meetings mentioned above, in order to strengthen bilateral activities and relations.
Accordingly, the Chinese have rescheduled the Honourable Prime Minister's visit to China and are now working with Trinidad and Tobago to plan an Official Visit to China next year.
As soon as plans for the Official Visit are finalized there will be an announcement."