China-Liberia Relations in a New Era

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Outgoing Chinese Ambassador Zhao Jianhua said since he commenced his tour of duty in Liberia, the bilateral relationship between the two countries has steadily progressed, and has entered a new stage.

Ambassador Jianhua: “I’m very proud to say that since I came here, significant progress has been made in the development of our friendship and cooperation. We have further proven ourselves as steadfast and reliable partners bilaterally and internationally. As a result, the relationship between our two countries has entered a new period.”

The outgoing Chinese Ambassador spoke on Tuesday, December 3, at a farewell reception held in honor of him at the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia. He said Chinese grants to Liberia improve steadily under his tenure.

He indicated that politically, the two countries have strengthened mutual trust and the Liberian government is firmly adhering to the One China policy, while at the same time, the Chinese government is firmly supporting Liberia’s peace and stability.

He indicated: “Two years and eight months have passed since I came as Chinese Ambassador to Liberia in April 2011. During my tour of duty, I have received generous and valuable support and assistance from the Government of Liberia, the Liberian people, and from diplomatic corps and international organizations, to whom I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude.

“The two countries have maintained the momentum of high level visits and frequent exchanges. Since 2003, China has been supporting the United Nations Mission in Liberia (UNMIL) with the presence of its troops in the country and other technical support,” he said.

Economically, Amb. Jianhua noted that the two countries are becoming more closely connected. “The volume of trade between Liberia and China has been among the top five among Western and Central African countries in the past several years. As Liberia is becoming more attractive, more Chinese entrepreneurs are coming to do business and invest in Liberia,” he explained.

However, both countries are simultaneously working on four cardinal projects expected to positively improve the conditions of Liberians, especially the young people, and as well cement the relationship between both countries. The projects are the Ministerial Complex, two Legislative Annexes, the Samuel Kanyon Doe (SKD) Sports Complex renovation and the expansion of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC).

Ambassador Jianhua said that to finance these projects, grants from the Chinese government will amount to over US$100 million. He said that these projects are taking place in the country through the initiative of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.

“Madam President, it is you who initiated these big projects for the Liberian government and people, both countries need to work even harder to make sure that these projects will be completed and handed over to you. In addition to these big projects, the Chinese government has been financing some technical projects as well,” the Ambassador declared.

He furthered, “Under your leadership Madam President, Liberia has come a long way. Over the past 10 years, through the relentless efforts of the Liberian government and people, and with the help of the international community, Liberia has maintained peace and stability. It has also made tremendous economic and social progress. I’m fortunate to have witnessed the great achievements Liberia has made on the path of development and transformation.”

Making statement, President Sirleaf said Liberia was fortunate several years ago to re-activate its diplomatic relationship with the People’s Republic of China; a relationship Liberia has benefited and continues to benefit from tremendously.

She said that Ambassador Jianhua was very instrumental in ensuring that the major projects that China is undertaking in Liberia are approved and funded by his government. She lauded the outgoing Chinese Ambassador for his tireless efforts in contributing to the reconstruction and transformation of the country.

President Sirleaf noted that China has been very instrumental in helping Liberia recover from its brain-drain resulting from the civil crisis. China has provided numerous scholarships to young Liberian professionals, some of whom are contributing meaningfully to the country.

Meanwhile, several government officials including Senate Pro-Tempore Gbehzohngar Findley, Chief Justice Francis Korkpor, Foreign Minister Augustine K. Ngafuan, and several members of the Cabinet and members of the diplomatic corps were in attendance at the farewell reception.

The doyen (most senior man in the group) of the diplomatic corps, Guinean Ambassador, Abdullah Dore, US Ambassador, Deborah Malac, and several other ambassadors were present.

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