‘Okay, let’s play’: China responds to US concerns on its presence in Jamaica

The Chinese Embassy in Kingston says unlike its American counterparts, its cooperation with Jamaica and other countries across Latin America and the Caribbean stands on respect for sovereignty, mutual equality and respect.

Responding to comments by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press conference in Kingston on Thursday, China slammed the allegations as groundless, adding that it notices a pattern of language in which America repeatedly tries to tarnish its reputation.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness and US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at a press conference at Jamaica House on Thursday (Jan 22).

“We express our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the groundless accusation against China’s cooperation with Latin America and Caribbean countries, which Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States, made at Policy Discussion on US-Caribbean Relations on January 22, 2020,” China wrote in a statement.

“For some time, it seems that some US politicians cannot go anywhere without attacking China, tarnishing China’s reputation, starting fires and fanning the flames and sowing discords. They can go on talking the talk if they so wish, but we will continue walking the walk,” the statement continued.

China further contended that it has “no intention to pursue geopolitical strategy or sphere of influence” and that the world should be able to tell who is responsible for stirring up trouble as opposed to those making a difference. “They can go on talking the talk if they so wish, but we will continue walking the walk. 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 and common prosperity,” the statement continued.

China said it will also strive to support regional integration and solidarity among Caribbean countries, as they seek to play their respective roles in international affairs.

Pompeo, in his comments, said Jamaica and other countries in the region should be wary of Chinese investments, claiming Beijing with its “easy money” had an agenda to promote corruption and destroy economic stability. “What good is it if it feeds corruption and undermine your rule of law. What good are those investments if, in fact, they ruin your environment and don’t create jobs for your people?” Pompeo asked.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo

“The Chinese Communist Party does present a particular challenge and we have made no bones about saying to nations just make sure that this is a transaction that is on the up and up, that this investment is being made for economic purposes,” he stated.

See the Chinese Embassy’s statement in full below:         

We express our strong dissatisfaction and opposition to the groundless accusation against China’s cooperation with Latin America and Caribbean countries, which Mr. Michael Pompeo, Secretary of State of the United States, made at Policy Discussion on U.S. – Caribbean Relations on January 22, 2020.

China has no intention to pursue geopolitical strategy or sphere of influence. China has been carrying out cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean on the basis of mutual respect, equality and mutual benefit. Such cooperation has been open and transparent, in compliance with local laws and market rules, paying high attention to protecting environment  and increasing local employment, and has given a strong boost to the economic development and improvement of people’s well-being in the region. Indisputable facts have shown that it is opportunity and tangible benefits that China brings to Latin America and the Caribbean, which have been welcomed by them.

Latin America and the Caribbean countries, as independent sovereign countries, have every right to determine their own foreign relations including choosing their trade and investment partners. Others are in no position to impose interference or coercion out of ulterior motives.

For some time, it seems that some US politicians cannot go anywhere without attacking China, tarnishing China’s reputation, starting fires and fanning the flames and sowing discords. They can go on talking the talk if they so wish, but we will continue walking the walk. The world will tell plainly who is stirring up trouble and who is trying to make a difference.

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 and common prosperity. China will continuously and firmly support the integration and solidarity of Caribbean countries, and support their efforts to play an active role in international and regional affairs.