KINGSTON — The Government of the People's Republic of China has committed to providing military aid of 8 million RMB (approximately US$1.1 million).
The agreement, which was signed at the Jamaica Defence Force (JDF) Up Park Camp Headquarters in Kingston, represents one of the most significant military aid packages to Jamaica. It was signed by Chief of Defence Staff of the JDF, Major General Antony Anderson and Deputy Chief of the Foreign Affairs Office of the Ministry of National Defence of the People's Republic of China, Major General Jia Xiaoning.
According to Major General Anderson, the agreement between the two countries represents a commitment to continue military aid and partnership exchanges with Jamaica. “What it will do is to provide logistic support to us and this will enhance our capabilities by providing more resources that we can apply to everything that we do," he said.
The Chief of Defence Staff further explained that the funds represent an "allotment that has been apportioned, and discussions over the next few months with members of the Chinese Government, and the People’s Liberation Army, will determine how best it will be spent."
Meanwhile, Major General Jia Xiaoning explained that the aid package represented an agreement in principle. "How to utilize this amount is an issue which we will address later and if we reach consensus on the utilisation of this amount, we will sign another protocol to put in practice, this agreement," he said.
Jamaica has enjoyed a long and warm relationship with the People’s Republic of China and indications are that this is deepening, as reflected in new investments in Jamaica's ailing sugar industry, significant funding for road construction and the rebuilding of critical pieces of infrastructure as well as the construction of a national convention centre in Western Jamaica.
By ALLAN BROOKS, JIS Senior Reporter