Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Hon. K.D. Knight opened Jamaica’s Embassy to the People’s Republic of China in a ceremony at the new Chancery at the Jianwai Diplomatic Compound in Beijing on Monday, 18th July.
Speaking at the function, Minister Knight described the establishment of the embassy as a historic milestone in Jamaica-China relations building on the foundation of close cooperation in many areas and the growing trade and investment links between the two countries. He recalled the long tradition of close contact between Jamaica and China including close people to people links beginning with the migration of Chinese to Jamaica in 1854. He lauded the contribution of the Jamaican Chinese community to national development in all spheres of national life.
Minister Knight emphasised that the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972 had laid the foundation for the forging of strong and deep linkages and cooperation between Jamaica and China.
He expressed appreciation to Foreign Minister Hon. Li Xiansheng for the support given to Jamaica in establishing the embassy and the commitment of the Foreign Ministry and other departments of government to facilitate its work. He emphasised the importance of building on the agreements reached between the two countries for the benefit of the people of the two countries including the importance of increasing trade and investment as well as promoting cultural exchanges and sporting contact.
One way of building on the people to people links, Mr. Knight said, was to take advantage of possibilities for travel to Jamaica now possible with the granting of Approved Destination status to Jamaica. “Jamaica is getting ready to welcome many Chinese tourists and business persons to Jamaica in the very near future and the embassy and its consular operations will be a vital part of this thrust.” The embassy would be a focal point for the expansion of trade and economic possibilities between Jamaica and China, he stated.
Jamaica’s first (non- resident) Ambassador to China, is Mr. Wayne McCook, a career diplomat.
For his part, Minister Li, who joined Minister Kinght in the unveiling of a plaque, described the opening of the embassy as a significant development in Sino-Jamaican relations coming at a time of increasing trade and high level contacts between the two countries. “This is the year of Sino-Jamaican relations”, Minister Li stated as he recalled the important initiatives being pursued arising from the visits of the Vice-President of China to Jamaica in February of this year and the visit of Prime Minister Patterson to China last month. He further observed that this momentum should continue making every year a “year for Sino-Jamaican relations”.
Minister Knight earlier held wide-ranging bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Li and participated in a working luncheon hosted in his honour by Mr.Li..
Minister Knight also addressed over 200 Chinese officials, business leaders, tourism interests and diplomats in a post-opening ‘Jamaica Evening’ reception at the Beijing International Hotel. .
Minister Knight departed China yesterday, (Tuesday) for Jamaica.