Thu | Nov 21, 2019

China raps US in Ja spat

Published:Friday | November 8, 2019 | 12:50 AMRomario Scott/Gleaner Writer
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) shows off local products to Chinese President Xi Jinping (third left) while Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw and JAMPRO President Diane Edwards look on.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness (left) shows off local products to Chinese President Xi Jinping (third left) while Agriculture Minister Audley Shaw and JAMPRO President Diane Edwards look on.

In an escalating diplomatic row with Jamaica a central figure, the Chinese Embassy in Kingston fired back at a senior United States military commander who on Wednesday warned Jamaica to be wary of China’s presence in the region.

Admiral Craig Faller, commander of the United States Southern Command, insisted that China did not share the common values and philosophies that America and Jamaica cherished.

“We see that other external actors, other regions of the world that do not share the same values, are operating in conjunction with [Venezuelan President Nicolás] Maduro for their own good,” he said, listing Cuba as one such territory.

“Russia is right there alongside contributing disinformation, and China is in there as well as part of the disinformation campaign,” Faller told a press conference marking his visit to Up Park Camp in Kingston.

Yesterday, the Chinese expressed “strong” opposition at the US claims, countering that its relationship with Jamaica and other countries in the Caribbean has been on the basis of mutual respect and win-win cooperation.

Jamaica’s prime minister, Andrew Holness, is currently in China on a nine-day working visit.

“Facts speak louder than words. Sino-Jamaica, Sino-Caribbean, and Sino-Latin American cooperation, which features equality, transparency, and mutual benefit, is conducive to regional peace, stability, and development and will not be stopped by any force,” a spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Kingston said last night in a statement.

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“Irrespective of the intentions by Admiral Faller making those irresponsible accusations, China will continuously and unswervingly work together with Jamaica and other Latin American and Caribbean countries to jointly promote the Belt and Road cooperation for shared benefits, contributing to the building of a community with a shared future for mankind,” the statement continued.

Jamaica inked the Belt and Road pact, part of a global development initiative, earlier this year.

Even in the wake of the Americans’ warning, Holness appears to be pressing forward in deepening ties between Jamaica and China.

Yesterday, Holness reported that his tour of China has been “insightful and productive”. Holness met with Chinese President Xi Jinping on November 5 along with senior Cabinet Minister Audley Shaw and other government officials.

“I had bilateral discussions with the president of the People’s Republic of China, His Excellency Xi Jingping. Jamaica-China relations have been buttressed by high-level and technical visits to China, which have manifested beneficial cooperation in many areas, including sport, trade, and investment,” the prime minister said on his Facebook page, posting photos of himself and the Chinese president at the second China International Import Expo.

romario.scott@gleanerjm.com