Prime Minister, the Most Hon. Portia Simpson Miller, has arrived in the People’s Republic of China, for a five-day official visit.
She was welcomed, on her arrival at the Beijing International Airport, by China’s Assistant Foreign Minister, Zheng Zeguang; Chinese Ambassador to Jamaica, His Excellency Zheng Qingdian; Jamaica’s Ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Ralph Thomas; and Minister/Counsellor at the Jamaican Embassy, Jacqueline Bell.
The Prime Minister’s visit is a follow-up to her bilateral meeting with China’s President, His Excellency Xi Jinping, in Trinidad and Tobago two months ago.
While in China, she will meet with the President and Premier, and will use the opportunity during those meetings to reaffirm Jamaica’s bilateral relations with China, including celebrating the 40th Anniversary of diplomatic relations between both countries, which was established in November 1972.
During the approximately hour-long ride from the airport, there were signs of the strong relationship both countries share, with the welcoming sight of large prominently positioned Jamaican flags flying high alongside Chinese flags at several locations along the route.
Mrs. Simpson Miller is accompanied on the trip by Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator the Hon. A.J. Nicholson; Minister of Water, Land, Environment, and Climate Change, Hon. Robert Pickersgill; Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister, Onika Miller; Special Envoy and Chief Advisor to the Prime Minister, Dr. the Hon. Carlton Davis; and members of her security detail.
The Prime Minister and her delegation are scheduled to meet with the leadership of important state institutions such as the China Export-Import Bank and the China Development Bank, as well as major firms currently doing business in Jamaica and those with strong investor interest.
She is also slated to have discussions on development challenges associated with climate change and global warming and, in particular, those faced by Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in implementing necessary climate adaptation mechanisms and recovering from the significant damage caused by natural disasters.
She will participate in discussions regarding the role of the Group of 77 nations and China in the effective operation of the United Nations (UN) and multilateral systems to ensure that the voice and representation of emerging and developing countries are enhanced in the global political and economic frameworks.
Ambassador Thomas explained that the Prime Minister’s presence in China at this time is “very, very important in cementing important relationships and in ensuring that certain (business) matters, which have been on the way, can be taken further at the highest level.”
A small business delegation has also accompanied the Prime Minister to explore trade and investment opportunities with officials and business interests in China. They will attend a business forum on Friday, August 23. Ambassador Thomas said a very strong signal is being sent that “Jamaica is open for business.”
Prime Minister Simpson Miller’s visit will serve to further strengthen South-South collaboration as part of a broader development/cooperation agenda between China and Jamaica. In recent times, the country has been playing a pivotal role in Jamaica’s economic development.
This has been evident through significant levels of Chinese support extended over the years through various economic and technical cooperation agreements in key areas such as education, art and culture, military and security, infrastructure development, capacity building and training, and equipment and disaster relief contributions.