China accuses U.S. of meddling with Dominican Republic ties

SANTO DOMINGO (Reuters) - China’s Embassy in the Dominican Republic on Thursday accused the United States of trying to interfere in its relations with the Caribbean nation, condemning remarks it attributed to a U.S. official as “lacking in respect” to both nations.

In a brief statement, the Chinese embassy complained about comments it said the acting president of the Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC), David Bohigian, had made during a visit to the Dominican Republic earlier this week.

“The aforementioned U.S. government official questioned the Chinese-Dominican relationship without any proof, and aims to interfere in the current stable development of the (bonds) of friendship and cooperation between China and the Dominican Republic,” said the statement issued on the embassy’s website.

“We object to this comment, which is lacking in respect to both the Chinese and the Dominican side,” it added.

Beijing’s statement comes after Bohigian was quoted in local media calling on Dominicans to review the benefits they had obtained since the country established diplomatic and trade ties with China just over a year ago.

Dominican Spanish language newspaper Listin Diario quoted Bohigian as saying it was important that “people ensure their own sovereignty to make sure that their workers are the ones who receive the financial benefits.”

OPIC, a U.S. development financier, did not immediately reply to a request for a transcript of Bohigian’s reported remarks.

Reporting by Jorge Pineda; writing by Dave Graham; editing by Jonathan Oatis