U.S. ‘Not Deterred’ by China’s Huge Presence

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The Deputy Chief of Mission at the United States Embassy accredited near Monrovia, Sheila Paskman, has said that her government is not deterred by the huge influx of Chinese interests in Africa, especially Liberia where two high powered Chinese delegations – business and political, respectively – have arrived in the space of one week.
A high-powered Chinese Business delegation to Liberia last week expressed investment interests in key sectors of the nation’s economy. This delegation, however, served as the pathfinders for the subsequent arrival of a delegation headed by that country’s Foreign Minister WANG Yi.
Both delegations pledged to invest in Liberia with members of the business delegation expressing investment interests in some of the country’s major resources or investment potentials including the Wologisi Mountain range in Lofa County, and the rehabilitation of the Roberts International Airport (RIA). Minister Wang also promised his government assistance in the country’s post-Ebola recovery process.
Madam Paskman, a career US diplomat with extensive China experience prior to her assignment in Liberia, said the U.S. is not and will not be deterred by the presence of Chinese in any part of the world, whether in Liberia or not.
“We need a lot of international intervention to help the country’s recovery from the effects of the Ebola crisis and the coming of China for such a purpose is of no threat to the United States,” she said.
She made the clarification when she spoke at the Cocktail dinner in honor of Minister Wang at the Foreign Ministry in Monrovia over the weekend.
“I’m not worried. We need collaboration to help Liberia in her recovery,” she said with laughter.
For his part, Minister Wang said that China will stand by Liberia without any precondition.
“I am also here to send a clear and strong signal to Liberians and the international community that the Chinese people will be standing together with Liberia, not always during difficult times, like the days of Ebola outbreak, but also with its economic recovery agenda,” he said.
He said Ebola crisis had devastating effects on the affected countries as a result of lack of development and poverty.
He stressed that China will not attach any political condition or impose any request on any African nation that they intend to help.
Minister Wang noted that future cooperation will focus on infrastructure development, adding that they will encourage China’s companies to take more active part in Liberia’s resources development.
He said China was open to Liberia in all areas, adding that both China and the United States have agreed to renovate the RIA.
Mr. Wang said such cooperation can be explored in many other areas in Liberia.
The Chinese Foreign Minister highlighted the need for industrialization, which he said is critical as far as Liberia’s natural resources are concerned.
He said the country’s priority areas are not just critical, but strategic to the progress and development of Liberia. “China,” he said, “was prepared to assist in the training of human resources as well as provide technical assistance aimed at improving infrastructure.”
At a meeting with Minister Wang, President Sirleaf recommitted her government to the “One China Policy.” Also, at the level of the United Nations, specifically in the context of Security Council reform, President Sirleaf reminded Minister Wang of Africa’s common position, known as Ezulwini Consensus, which was endorsed by the People’s Republic of China (PRC); while they committed to work together even at the level of the UN Ambassadors in New York.

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