|Greeting Message from Ambassador Zhao Zhenyu Published in Observer and The Gleaner for welcoming the Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong's official visit to Jamaica|
You may have already noticed from the media that a distinguished guest, H. E. Mr. Zeng Qinghong, Vice President of the People's Republic of China, is now in Jamaica for a three-day official visit. And while you are reading this message of mine, the first ministerial conference of the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum and the China-Caribbean Trade Fair co-sponsored by the Governments of Jamaica and the People's Republic of China, are being inaugurated in Kingston.
Before arriving in Kingston, Vice President Zeng has just finished his visit to 4 other countries including Mexico, Peru, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. The visit to Jamaica at the highest level by the Chinese leader over the past 10 years, demonstrates the great importance attached by the Chinese Government to its friendly and cooperative relations with Jamaica. His attendance of some of the functions of the Forum will surely bring the China-Caribbean relations to a new height. As the Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, I am very proud to see that never before have the relations between China and Jamaica been so close, never before have the trade and cultural links between the two countries been so forcefully strengthened, and never before have our two peoples been so greatly inspired to work together for a even stronger partnership, augured by the successful visit to Jamaica by Vice President Zeng.
You might be curious about the busy programme of Vice President Zeng. Yesterday, shortly after His Excellency's arrival in Kingston, he had a constructive talk with the Most Honourable Prime Minister Patterson and a very fruitful discussion with the Most Honourable Governor General. Besides reaffirming their dedication to continuously developing the mutually beneficial relations between the two countries, the leaders exchanged views on many regional and international issues of common concern. At the opening ceremony of the Forum this morning, Vice President Zeng and Prime Minister Patterson will elaborate on the importance for both China and the Caribbean world to maintain the current momentum of exchanges and cooperation and to establish a closer relationship between the two sides. China takes Jamaica and furthermore the Caribbean countries as genuine friends and important partners as Vice President Zeng formally proposes during the visit that China will establish a relationship of friendship and cooperation for common development with Jamaica. It could be safely assumed that this strategic orientation will guide the future development of our relations along the fast track of exchanges and cooperation. Also in the visit, the Chinese Government announces its decisions to provide aid gratis of 30 million RMB and concessional loan of 150 million RMB to the Jamaican Government, grant the Authorized Destination Status to Caribbean countries including Jamaica, and send 1 Chinese language instructor to the University of the West Indies, Mona campus.
Let me say a few more words on the first ministerial conference of the China-Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum. This Forum, co-sponsored by the Governments of the People's Republic of China and Jamaica, is a great event for both China and the Caribbean countries. The past few years have witnessed a steady growth of political cooperation and economic and trade exchanges between our two sides, which has encouraged us to further promote understanding and cooperation for the mutual benefit. Against this backdrop, the Chinese initiative to hold the first Ministerial Conference of the Forum has been well received and warmly welcomed by many Caribbean countries. For 3 days from today on, Kingston will be a bustling center of the Caribbean region where political and business leaders of the region will be gathering to discuss, under the theme of promoting cooperation and common development, issues concerning economic and trade cooperation between China and the region. Trade, agriculture, tourism, fishery, science and technology, aviation and finance will be highlighted topics of the conference. Today, ministers attending the conference will put their signatures to the Guiding Framework of Economic and Trade Cooperation of the China – Caribbean Economic and Trade Cooperation Forum – 2005 Ministerial Conference. I believe, this forum will be long remembered as a landmark in the history of our successful and fruitful cooperation and it will surely open a new chapter of our friendly relations.
My best wishes for the success of both Vice President Zeng Qinghong's visit to Jamaica and the Forum.