China and Jamaica forging ahead into the future
At the invitation of Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Wang Yi, member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee and minister of foreign affairs in China, is on an official visit to Jamaica. Both sides are exchanging views on China-Jamaica relations, bilateral cooperation in various fields, as well as regional and international issues of mutual concern.
The visit, which is Wang’s first trip abroad this year, marks the first offline high-level interaction between China and Jamaica since the COVID-19 pandemic. It is beyond doubt that this visit will enrich our relations, promote bilateral pragmatical cooperation, and drive forward the China-Jamaica strategic partnership in the new era to a new milestone in the history of bilateral relations.
If you have a friend afar who knows your heart, distance can’t keep you two apart. Despite the geographical distance, China and Jamaica are good friends and partners sharing the same vision. Jamaica is the first English-speaking Caribbean country to establish a strategic partnership and sign the cooperation plan on jointly promoting the Belt and Road Initiative with China. Thanks to the leadership and personal inputs by leaders of both countries, China-Jamaica relations have been marching ahead at a prudent pace, with deepened political mutual trust, constantly improved pragmatical cooperation, and increasingly closer people-to-people exchanges in the past 51 years since establishing diplomatic relations. It sets up a good example of friendly exchanges between developing countries.
From a global perspective, international political disturbances and military conflicts are pervasive and are becoming more complicated, revealing that the world has entered a new period of turbulence and change. Despite difficulties, we are in high spirits to move forward. Under the new circumstances, the Chinese people have embarked on a new path to advance the rejuvenation of China on all fronts. At the same time, Jamaica is on its journey to ‘Reigniting a Nation for Greatness’. Wang’s visit is timely and extraordinary as the two visions and two great paths are spontaneously meeting with each other.
The visit brings in precious opportunities to consolidate strategic mutual trust. In recent years, leaders of the two countries have maintained ties and drawn a new blueprint for the future of China-Jamaica strategic partnership. Both countries give firm support to each other on issues of mutual interest and major concerns. Both countries should hold this visit tight and keep the strong growth momentum of the China-Jamaica strategic partnership.
In 2023 China was the second largest trading partner of Jamaica, with a year-on-year increase of 24.8 per cent achieving a total of US$1.172 billion from January to November. The cooperation under the framework of the Belt and Road Initiative has been constantly making breakthroughs. During this visit, the two countries will reach more consensus across fields, including infrastructure cooperation, look ahead for future cooperation to promote bilateral pragmatical cooperation, and deliver concrete benefits to the two countries and two peoples.
The visit carries the positive desire to restart the people-to-people exchanges and further promote exchanges between our cultures. The friendship between China and Jamaica is higher than the Blue Mountains and deeper than the Caribbean Sea. This year marks the 170th anniversary of the first group of Chinese people arriving in Jamaica. They have been deeply integrated into Jamaican society and laid a solid foundation for China-Jamaica people-to-people friendship.
The visit will further illustrate our shared future for mankind. Surprisingly, the concept has similar implications with Jamaica’s “Out of Many, One People” motto. In spite of distinct national conditions, our countries and peoples are tightly combined by this highly connected vision. Facing the ever-increasing global challenges, China and Jamaica, both as developing countries, ought to support each other. Wang brings the latest explanation and expectation from President Xi Jinping for the community, with a shared future for mankind, and reiterates China’s firm stance to stay with Jamaica going forward.
Dear Jamaican friends, opportunities and challenges lay ahead. Heavy responsibilities await us on the new journey. My hometown is in Shandong province, China, where Yellow River, known as China’s mother river, pours into the sea. I firmly believe that the development of history flows the same way, even more magnificent when it faces ups and downs.
Wang comes to Jamaica with a sincere wish to enhance mutual trust, a vision for common development, and the profound understanding of long-lasting China-Jamaica friendship.
This visit will undoubtedly lead to a new page of China-Jamaica relationship with a brighter future. Let’s march ahead with a firm heart to build a community with a shared future for mankind and jointly usher in a new chapter of China-Jamaica relations.
— Chen Daojiang is China’s ambassador to Jamaica