CHINA-JAMAICA PARTNERSHIP MUTUALLY BENEFICIAL
Remarks by Ambassador NIU Qingbao
2017/02/09

Kingston, Jamaica

27 September 2016

The Hon. Kamina Johnson-Smith, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade

Ministers, Senators and Members of Parliament

Colleagues of the Diplomatic Corps

Dear Chinese Expatriates in Jamaica

Distinguished Guests and Media Representatives

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Good evening!

Thank you all for joining me tonight in celebrating my first of many Chinese National Days in Jamaica.

Today is exactly the 9th month of my arrival in Jamaica. I thank you for all for you friendship and valuable support, without which I would have been able to implement my duty.

I have been asked numerous times of my view on China-Jamaica relationship. Well, no words can better define it than partnership.

Partnership means mutual respect and equality. The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence are fundamental principles of China's foreign policy, which are: mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit, and peaceful coexistence. China-Jamaica relationship perfectly reflects these five principles. Core traditional Chinese values include "do as you would be done by" and "harmony in diversity". We cherish independence and national unity, so we have no intention of hurting Jamaica's independence and national unity. We value equality and treat Jamaica as our equal partner. We also hold that "one should not force onto others what oneself cherishes", because one's honey might be another's poison. China never interferes in Jamaica's internal affairs and explicitly asks Chinese nationals and companies in Jamaica to avoid getting involved in Jamaican domestic politics.

Reciprocally, China has been treated well by Jamaica. Jamaica was the first in the Caribbean to officially recognize the New China. For decades, under JLP and PNP administrations alike, Jamaica has firmly upheld the One-China Policy in supporting China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. Jamaica never lectures China on how China should be governed.

China and Jamaica, despite their differences in area, history and culture, are fully equal. Our Friendly Partnership for Common Development is a perfect elaboration of mutual respect and equality.

Partnership means mutual support and assistance. In the last decade, following sustained social and economic development of itself, China, itself being a developing country like Jamaica, has been providing unconditional assistance to Jamaica to the best of its ability.

China has gifted Jamaica a good number of projects of a total value of about JMD 9.4 billion, including the Chinese Garden at Hope Gardens and Sligoville Sports Complex. More gifts are on the way. The construction of a new office building for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade and two early childhood institutes are expected to commence by year-end. China has donated mobile container X-ray scanners for the security of Jamaican ports, water tanks to improve water supply, etc. and will donate energy-smart products with a total value of about JMD 400 million for the benefit of Jamaican environment.

Government Concessional Loans and Preferential Export Buyer's Credit Loans have been provided. Jamaica is the largest recipient of such Chinese loans in the Caribbean, totaling JMD 120 billion. These loans have been used on projects that improve infrastructure and people's livelihood, such as Economic Housing, Palisadoes Airport Road, South Coast Highway Improvement and Montego Bay Convention Centre. Congratulations to Montego Bay Convention Centre for being named the Caribbean's Leading Meetings and Conference Centre just last week.

China shares experience and skills for development with Jamaica on need-basis. So far, China has given full scholarship to more than 200 Jamaican youths and funded the training of over 1,000 officials and professionals.

Our help is two-way. Jamaica has offered 10 full government scholarships to train Chinese sports coaches and students. I met these students a few times and was impressed by their gratefulness to Jamaica and the G.C. Foster College in particular. Their training at G.C. Forster has been exceptionally useful.

Partnership means mutually beneficial trade and economic cooperation. Jamaica is China's largest trading partner in the English-speaking Caribbean. In 2015, the total volume of China-Jamaica trade, according to Chinese statistics, totaled USD 660 Million, an increase of 18.7% over 2014. This, however, is not the whole picture because Chinese tourists and workers in Jamaica love to buy Blue Mountain coffee and Jamaican rum as gifts to their friends and relatives. I once received 5 friends who bought 6 pounds each of Blue Mountain Coffee at Craighton Estate. As more and more Chinese tourists come to visit Jamaica, Blue Mountain coffee could be in short supply.

China and Jamaica are partners in economic cooperation. The North-South Highway, an investment of USD 730 million by China Harbor, is not only the single largest investment in infrastructure on the island, but also the first major infrastructure investment overseas ever made by a Chinese company. It has won tremendous compliments from the Jamaican people. Two weeks ago, I once again drove through the entire Highway along with Mr. Simpson, an environmental engineer. I was heartened to see with my own eyes that the highway's environmental protection facilities, such as the sedimentation tanks and gabions, are effective enough to keep the environmental impact of rain waters from the project area on the nearby bays to a negligible level.

Two months ago, China's Jiuquan Iron and Steel Company (JISCO) signed framework agreement to purchase Al Part Bauxite-Alumina Refinery. The purchase plus comprehensive modification will cost about USD 500 million. If JISCO can have it its way, multi-billion USD will be invested in a special economic zone of manufacturing and modern agriculture on the post-mining land. That means hundreds of industrial jobs, decent income for thousands of farmers, better trade terms and better supply of vegetables, beef and dairy. As for environmental concerns, I believe a solution can be reached to the satisfaction of all parties concerned, as Chinese companies in Jamaica care about Jamaica's environment as much as Jamaicans do.

Other Chinese companies in Jamaica, such as Huawei which is a leading player in its field, Complant and Zhongda Construction are contributing to Jamaica's economy either by investing or contracting projects. Just last weekend, I witnessed the handing-over of 40 Golden Dragon buses to JUTC. These buses are specifically tailored to Jamaican needs. They are cheaper, safer, air-conditioned, wified, and environmentally friendly, as each of them saves USD 20000 on fuel each year.

Partnership is mutually beneficial. While serving Jamaica's economic development, Chinese companies further expand their international outlook and enhance their operational capability, which will lay solid foundations for their future development.

China-Jamaica partnership is also embodied in people-to-people friendship and cultural exchanges. Exchanges between our two countries in areas such as education, sports, culture and health are ever expanding. China Software Engineering College, a joint venture between UWI and Global Institute of Software Technology in Jiangsu, China, has started training students in ICT sector. The Chinese language is becoming so popular that the Confucius Institute at UWI will have to at least double its staff to meet the existing demands. Four weeks ago, I fare welled 10 Jamaican students who are already studying in top Chinese universities on full Chinese government scholarships. My Embassy also provides Scholarships to promising UWI and UTech students.

Many Chinese cultural groups, such as Shaolin Kung Fu Circus, have visited Jamaica. Just two weeks ago, I attended a painting exhibition by Professor Li Shaowen, a distinguished Chinese painter, at the Olympic Gallery.

In health, more than 200 Jamaicans suffering from cataract disease received free eye surgery from a Chinese Medical Mission last year. Earlier this year, I paid a visit to the University Hospital of the West Indies and attended a handover ceremony of ocular medical equipment.

The other way round, earlier this year, Jamaican singer Everton Blender visited China and performed at the 3rd Caribbean Music Festival. "Finding Samuel Lowe: From Harlem to China", a Jamaican documentary was shown in this year's Caribbean Film Festival in China. World famous Jamaican pianist Monty Alexander was named Ambassador for the China-Latin America and Caribbean Year of Culture Exchanges. Jamaican painters Peter Luis and Bryan McFarlane have held exhibitions in Beijing. All these performances and art works are well received in China.

I commend the Jamaica-China Friendship Association. This year marks its 40th anniversary. Over the 40 years, the Association has made tremendous efforts for and achieved great success in promoting friendship between our two peoples, which has become a critical part of our overall bilateral relationship. Happy 40th birthday!

The Chinese community in Jamaica is a small but important part of Jamaica's plural society. Jamaican Chinese have made great contributions economically and culturally. They are also an important bridge of friendship and cooperation between China and Jamaica. I hereby extend my festive greetings!

Dear friends,

Today's performance is specially meant for your entertainment. The China National Opera and Dance Drama Theater (CNODDT) is one of the best performing troupes in China. I sincerely thank the Ministry of Culture of China and artists from the CNODDT. I wish the performance great success and wish you all a wonderful evening.

To conclude, I propose a toast,

To the 67th birthday of the People's Republic of China,

To the China-Jamaica friendly partnership,

To the prosperity of Jamaica and well-being of Jamaican people,

To the health of each and every of you,

Cheers!

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