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For closer partnership and greater cooperation

Tian
Qi

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

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Wah gwaan, Jamaica?!

It is my great honour to be the 15th ambassador extraordinary and plenipotentiary of the People's Republic of China to Jamaica. I am confident that with the full support and assistance from the Government and people of Jamaica, I will exert my best efforts to deepen the close partnership and great cooperation between our two countries.

The middle-aged China-Jamaica bilateral relations have been going from strength to strength and becoming more mature and energetic. China-Jamaica relationship stands as a role model of equality and mutually beneficial cooperation between countries of different history and culture, different political systems and different sizes.

Today, China stands at a decisive stage in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. This offers major opportunities for China's growing friendship and cooperation with Jamaica and other countries in the world. The Chinese Government attaches great importance to China-Jamaica ties, and will work with Jamaica to promote the sustained and in-depth growth of our friendly partnership for common development and deliver real benefits to our two countries and peoples.

Synergise our development strategies at a higher level

As socialism with Chinese characteristics enters a new era and Jamaican social and economic development stands at a new starting point, we hope to synergise our development strategies at a higher level by enhancing top-level planning, deepening policy communication, and formulating road maps and action plans for bilateral cooperation for greater complementarity and benefit-sharing.

Furthermore, China sees countries in the Latin America and Caribbean (LAC) region as a natural extension of one aspect of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) — the Maritime Silk Road — and is willing to synergise our development strategies with countries of the Caribbean region under the BRI framework.

Promote practical cooperation across the board

China is now the biggest source of FDI o Jamaica. Large investment projects such as the north-south highway and Alpart Alumina plant are generating economic growth, creating jobs and improving people's lives. Fifteen Chinese companies either have investment or business operations in Jamaica, contributing 8,000 jobs to Jamaicans, and it is anticipated another 2,000 Jamaicans will join them this year.

China has shown its solidarity with Jamaica through unconditional aid projects for years, such as the new office building for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, two early childhood institutions, and the Confucius Institute building — all of which are under construction. West Children's Hospital and others will come soon.

Regarding trade, besides bauxite, Jamaican seafood is expected to be exported to China soon. We warmly welcome Jamaica's participation in the China International Import Expo which will be held in Shanghai in November this year. I believe fine Jamaican brands including Blue Mountain Coffee, tourism, and reggae music will find a better market in China.

Our bilateral cooperation on human resources training is expanding rapidly, with over 500 Jamaicans in various fields having taken up offers of Chinese government scholarships or workshops in China in 2017 alone. Our future priorities of practical cooperation will remain as infrastructure connectivity and production capacity cooperation. Of course, financial connectivity will be further promoted to provide solid support for our cooperation.

Consolidate popular foundation for bilateral cooperation

When the root is strong, the fruit is sweet. I will spare no effort in creating more opportunities and a favourable environment to further enrich our people-to-people exchanges, and expand interactions in such areas as culture, arts, sports, tourism and education, so as to set a more solid foundation for the future development of our time-honoured and ever-growing friendship. It would be my great joy to see more and more people from both sides visiting, studying, working and doing business in both our countries, as I believe that only with better understanding can we have more fruits of cooperation.

Strengthen coordination and mutual support on multilateral and international affairs

The greatness of a man is not in how much wealth he acquires, but in his integrity and his ability to affect those around him positively. Jamaica is such an important country in the Caribbean and has been playing a unique role in both regional and international affairs. Our two countries have been engaged in close coordination and have been supporting each other on climate change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and other regional and international affairs of significance. China highly appreciates Jamaica's constructive role in China-Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) cooperation. Both being developing countries, China and LAC are in a similar development stage, face the same tasks of development, and offer development opportunities to each other.

China seeks mutually beneficial cooperation and common development with LAC countries and is ready to work with them to build the new “1+3+6” framework for pragmatic cooperation (ie guided by the China-LAC Countries Cooperation Plan (2015-2019); utilising trade, investment and financial cooperation as driving forces; and identifying energy and resources, infrastructure construction, agriculture, manufacturing, scientific and technological innovation and information technology as cooperation priorities).

China will honour its due international obligations and work in close cooperation with Jamaica and other countries and relevant international organisations in addressing global issues and challenges in order to pursue global partnerships, build new types of international relations, and promote a community with a shared future for mankind.

If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. I would like to take this opportunity to sincerely invite Jamaican friends from all walks of life to join me in advancing closer partnership and greater cooperation between China and Jamaica, to fulfil the Chinese dream of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation, and make Jamaica, a small but great nation, “the place of choice to live, work, raise families and do business”. Let's get together and feel alright.

Tian Qi is the new Chinese ambassador to Jamaica

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