JO - Ministry defends use of free space for embassy in China
Ministry defends use of free space for embassy in China
Saturday, April 22, 2006
THE foreign ministry yesterday defended the government's decision to accept, free for three years, space in Beijing for the Jamaican embassy.
".The provision of grants and technical assistance between countries forms part of accepted practice in the realm of international relations and is, moreso, central to the government's policy of enhancing bilateral cooperation with its overseas partners whether developed or developing countries," the ministry said.
The government was severely criticised at Wednesday's sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of Parliament by the Opposition Jamaica Labour Party, which said the acceptance of the free space was a disgrace.
"It should be recalled that support by the Chinese government with respect to the initial establishment phase was publicly disclosed from as far back as May 2004 during the sectoral presentation on foreign affairs in the House of Representatives," the ministry statement said.
Said the statement: "The formulation and management of Jamaica's foreign policy are not discrete or separate activities. They are integral parts of the national policy framework. Foreign policy is government policy, driven by national interest and informed by domestic policy objectives and goals.
"Consequently, the concerns being expressed in relation to the assistance provided by the Chinese government in this instance would imply that Jamaica should not accept grants, concessionary loans or technical assistance from any foreign government for any project or programme.
"Jamaica's reputation, built over successive administrations since Independence, as a country that places principle over expediency in the conduct of its foreign policy, is well established. It is faulty, therefore, to infer that the mere act of receiving grants, loans or technical assistance from our international partners will serve to compromise the principled foreign policy positions and decisions taken by the Government of Jamaica, in pursuit of the country's interests."
The statement added that Jamaica is widely known and respected for the independence and integrity that underpin the positions it has adopted on the international stage, many of which have been in direct opposition to stances advocated by large powers, including important traditional partners.
"The decision to establish an embassy in China was based on a judgement about the potential benefits that could accrue to Jamaica, as well as the need to further enhance the excellent bilateral relations with China, while fostering the country's economic development," said the foreign ministry.