Remarks by Ambassador NIU Qingbao at the Reception to Celebrate the Chinese New Year

Kingston, Jamaica

2 February 2017

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

The Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, Leader of Opposition,

Former Governor Generals

Former Prime Ministers

Ministers, Senators and Member of Parliament

Mr Li Wenqi, Chairman of Shijingshan District People's Congress, Municipality of Beijing

Colleagues of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps

Dear Chinese Expatriates in Jamaica

Distinguished Guests and Media Representatives

Ladies and Gentlemen,

    Good Evening!

     Thanks you all for joining me tonight in celebrating the Chinese New Year, AKA the Spring Festival. Let me warmly welcome the performing troupe from Shijingshan District of Beijing, who have traveled half a globe to join and entertain us tonight.

    Now allow me to share with you some of last year's highlights in and about China:

     The economy grew by 6.7%. It was slower than a few years ago but it's a good "new normal". Good because 6.7% last year equals 10% 5 years ago. China was the fastest growing major economy in the world, contributing 33.2% of global growth. And 6.7% was achieved while we planned and reduced production capacity of iron and steel by 45 million tons, coal production by 250 million tons and unit GDP energy consumption by 5%.

     The Communist Party held its 6th Plenary of its 18th Central Committee, endorsed General Secretary XI Jinping as the core of the Party and adopted two important documents to more strictly discipline the Party itself.

     China more constructively participated in global governance. We hosted the G20 summit at Hangzhou and played a leading role in the APEC summit at Lima. President Xi Jingping campaigned for globalization and offered China's solutions to win-win cooperation.

     China released its second policy paper on Latin America and the Caribbean last November. Since this guides China's policy towards this region, let me to say a few more words. This policy paper provides a comprehensive explanation of the new ideas, proposals and initiatives in China's Latin America and Caribbean policy for the new ear, and promotes China's cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean in various areas. Based on equality and mutual benefit, the comprehensive and cooperative partnership between China and Latin America and the Caribbean is oriented towards common development. It does not target or exclude any third party. It conforms to the fundamental interests of the two sides and the trends of our times featuring world peace, development and cooperation, and serves as a shining example of developing countries working together to seek common development, shoulder common responsibilities and cope with common challenges in the new area.  Jamaica is encouraged to take full advantage of the favorable elements for development presented by the policy paper. This is perfect demonstration of win-win approach. All parties are posed to gain and nobody needs to worry.

     China Jamaica friendly partnership for common development grew steadily last year:

     High level changes of visits were frequent. Three Chinese ministerial level officials visited Jamaica and 5 Jamaican ministers visited China.

     Economic cooperation prospered. More Chinese companies have made investment. For example, the USD 730 million North South Highway, built by CHEC and opened by Prime Minister Holness last March, cuts cross-island traveling time by half and facilitates more economic growth. JISCO invested Al Part Bauxite Alumina Refinery, closed for years, will resume production in a few months and will create 600 full-time jobs.

     Cooperation on human resources expanded. China gave 29 full scholarships to Jamaican youths and funded the training of 263 officials and professionals. Jamaica, on the hand, completed training 10 sports professions, of whom 4 students completed their study at G. C. Fosters and returned to China.

     Cultural exchanges flourished. My Embassy brought 2 Chinese arts troupes here, one of them performed right here in this room last September.  The Confucius Institute of the UWI sponsored a painting exhibition by famous Chinese painter Li Shaowen at the Olympia Gallery. Jamaican singer Everton Blender, painters Peter Luis and Bryan McFarlane performed in China Pianist Monty Alexander was named Ambassador for the China-Latin America and Caribbean Year of Cultural Exchanges.

     Education exchanges were impressive. UWI and Utech became THE first universities in the whole of Latin America and the Caribbean to have their degrees officially recognized in China. UWI and China's Global Institute of Software Technology have established joint venture in Kingston and Jiangsu Province to train students in the ICT sector. Our two ministries of education have entered into agreement, a result of Minister Ruel Reid's visit to China in December, to allow for teachers to teach various subjects in each other's primary and secondary schools.

     Ladies and Gentlemen,

     2017 is the 45th year of China-Jamaica diplomatic relationship. In the Chinese zodiac, this year is the Year of the Rooster. Roosters are regarded as auspicious. I hope and believe that, through our joint efforts, China-Jamaica friendly partnership will grow from strength to strength.

     Dear friends,

     The Chinese New Year is for celebration. Today, I have invited Shijingshan Arts Troupe from Beijing to showcase traditional Chinese folk arts and handicrafts, some of which are listed as UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage.

     The Chinese New Year is for family union. That's why almost the whole nation is on the move in the festival season, first returning home for family union and then leaving home for work. The artists of this troupe have given up their family time so important for Chinese. I invite you to join me in thanking them and the Chinese Ministry of Cultural and Beijing Municipal Government that have sponsored their visit. Your appreciation of their performance is the best reward for them. I hope you will enjoy.

     Thanks you!

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