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JAMAICA | Opposition PNP reaffirms commitment to “respectful and friendly relations” with China

Featured PNP President and Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips PNP President and Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips
KINGSTON, Jamaica, Aug 15, CMC – The main opposition People’s National Party (PNP) says it will continue to pursue mutually “respectful and friendly relations” with China after Beijing condemned a video circulating on social network in which an opposition legislator claimed that there is “a form of economic colonialism by Chinese businesses operating in Jamaica”.

In a statement, the PNP said that its leader and Opposition Leader Dr. Peter Phillips had met with the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Niu Qingbaowe, to reaffirm his party’s commitment to maintaining friendly and mutually beneficial and respectful relations with that country.

China-Jamaica“As with all bilateral relationships, it behoves each country to ensure that their separate interests are reconciled and protected so that they may benefit,” the PNP said, adding that it is firmly of the view that it is the primary duty of a Jamaican government to “keep under constant review the sovereign interest of the Jamaican people in a world of sovereign states and take the steps required to protect our nationals.

“We continue to pursue mutually respectful and friendly relations with the People’s Republic of China based on the principles of sovereign equality, respect for the laws of each country and non-interference in the internal affairs of each state,” the PNP added.

Last weekend, the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China said it was offended by the “unsubstantiated claims” in the video in which the former national security minister, Peter Bunting, and a member of Parliament, made the claim of “economic colonialism” .

Beijing denied allegations that Chinese companies operating here are government owned and therefore have unlimited resources which Jamaican companies cannot compete against.

“There are clear separations between the Chinese Government and the management of Chinese state-owned enterprises. State-owned enterprises operate independently under business rules and assume sole responsibility for their profits and losses.”

The embassy had also argued that Bunting’s claims could encourage a backlash and create an unsafe environment for Chinese nationals working here.

But in a statement Bunting dismissed the idea, stating “it is highly unlikely that this type of Internet current affairs programme will place Chinese nationals at risk in Jamaica, which has always been very open to people of every ethnic background.

“The Embassy’s statement confirms the essential thrust of the episode — that the Chinese companies are State-owned enterprises against which local Jamaican contractors cannot be expected to compete effectively.”

Bunting said that “there is clearly a significant cultural difference in terms of how both China and Jamaica, at a cultural level, understand and speak about transparency”.

Last week, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said that his administration would act in the best interest of the Jamaican people while remaining open to foreign investment in the country.

Holness made the comments as the government signed a partnership agreement with China Harbour Engineering Company (CHEC) for the Barbican Road Improvement Works project.

“The government is very sensitive to what has been happening. I want to reassure the people of Jamaica that the Government of Jamaica will always act in the best interest of the people of Jamaica,” said Prime Minister Holness, noting that the country’s relationship with the People’s Republic of China dates back to 1972; and that Jamaica continues to support the One China policy.

  • Countries: Jamaica

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