KINGSTON — Ambassador-designate of China to Jamaica, Mr. Zhang Qingdian paid a courtesy call on the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh on Thursday, May 12, at the Ministry’s office.
Mr. Qingdian who is replacing Ambassador HE Chen Jinghua has served in the Chinese Foreign Ministry since 1978. He has been posted to India on three separate occasions and was Ambassador to Bangladesh from 2006-2008 and later appointed Ambassador to Afghanistan in 2008.
Dr. Baugh who welcomed Mr. Qingdian to Jamaica, also commended China for its growth, and said Jamaica had a lot to learn from the Chinese. He also made the point that while Agriculture and Transport and Works were two of the bigger areas of cooperation, there were other areas where relations were very good as well. “There was a lot of work to be done, even while there was a lot of ongoing work,” said Dr. Baugh.
The new Ambassador-designate agreed that “diplomatic relations between both countries have come a long way,” and stated that the existing relationship was one of “high political trust."
Establishment and Course of Diplomatic Relations
This vibrant bilateral relationship was formally established in November 1972 with the establishment of diplomatic relations between Jamaica and China.
Following the July 18, 2005 establishment of the Jamaican Embassy in Beijing, China, there has been an increase in high level visits between the administrations of both countries. The most recent ones were the 2010 visit to China by Prime Minister Bruce Golding, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Dr. Kenneth Baugh, and the visit to Jamaica by His Excellency Xi Jinping, Vice President of the Peoples Republic of China in February 2009.
Presently, Jamaica has a negative trade balance with China. This was not so in 2006, however since 2007, with the fall in alumina exports to China in that year, Jamaica has had a negative trade balance with China.
Alumina, however, is still among Jamaica’s top three exports to China. The others are coffee and tobacco.