Her Excellency Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, President of Liberia, will pay a state visit to China from 1st to 5th November, 2015 at the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping. The two presidents will have an official talk at the Great Hall of the People and exchange broad views on bilateral relations. As the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia and the good friend of Liberia, it is my great honor and privilege to witness this remarkable event and I believe that this successful visit to China of Her Excellency will mark a new milestone for the China-Liberia relations ushering in a new blueprint to realize opportunities for future mutual development, and contribute to promoting bilateral cooperation between our two countries.
I have worked in Liberia as the Ambassador of China for nearly two years. During this period, China-Liberia relations have been developing on a fast track and significant progress has been made in bilateral cooperation in various fields.
In the political field, our mutual trust proceeds to strengthen with high level interaction and in-depth dialogues which set the tone for China-Liberia relationship.
Two months ago, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid a successful and fruitful visit to Liberia. Minister Wang Yi proposed that our two countries will intensify cooperation in the areas of health care, education, agriculture and fishery, infrastructure construction and human resources development. China will join hands with the Liberian government and people to carry out the Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan of Liberia.
During this visit, H.E. Madam Ellen Johnson Sirleaf will meet top Chinese leaders, H.E. Xi Jinping, President, H.E. Li Keqiang, Premier of State Council, and H.E. Zhang Dejiang, Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress.
The face-to-face exchanges between Her Excellency and Chinese top leaders will undoubtedly produce fruitful outcomes lifting the China-Liberia ties to a higher level with a positive consequence in various aspects.
In the economic field, our bilateral economic and trade cooperation yielded substantial fruits. Productive and win-win cooperation has laid the solid foundation for the China-Liberia relationship.
China is a major development partner of this country and has played a growing role in Liberia’s socio-economical development. Last year, trade volume between our two countries exceeded 4250 million US dollars, a 74% increase over the year before despite the Ebola strike. China continues to be one of Liberia’s top trading partners, as well as the biggest foreign investor and the top project contractor for Liberia.
Considering the urgent needs of Liberia, China will speed up the aid projects including the renovation of the SKD Stadium, the Ministerial Complex, and annexes to the Capitol Hill building. Some other projects related to infrastructure, human resources and manufacture are being undertaken to help Liberia achieve economic independence and self-reliant sustainable development with China’s development for win-win cooperation and common development. .
On the front of people-to-people exchanges, the two countries have maintained close ties on public health, medical care, education and human resource training. Intensive cultural exchange and people-to-people bonds have brought the people of the two countries closer, providing lasting power for the development of the China-Liberia relationship.
I need to point out that in the most difficult period of the Ebola crisis, China did not walk away and instead made the leading efforts and contribution to deliver Ebola Virus Disease emergency support to the affected countries, including Liberia. China was the first to respond to President Sirleaf’s call, and sent 4 batches of aid, including emergency materials, equipment, and food by nine chartered airplanes. China helped build a State-of-the-art ETU, receiving 177 patients, including 10 Ebola patients. More than 400 Chinese medical personnel came to Liberia, fighting against Ebola side by side with the Liberian people. Their commitment truly reflected that China is a good friend of Liberia and Africa.
The fast and healthy development of China-Liberia relations reflects the cooperative nature of China-Liberia relations. Liberia and China are both developing countries facing common challenges of development and sharing broad common interests. It is incumbent on us to continue to consolidate China-Liberia friendship, deepen strategic collaboration and enhance practical cooperation between our two countries.
At the United Nations summit in September, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged an initial two billion US dollars to establish an assistance fund to help developing nations fight poverty, aiding less developed regions and sharing useful experience with other countries. Carrying forward the principles of “Authenticity, Honesty, Affinity and Credibility” and “Correct Approach to Morality and Profitability” for Africa , China is committed to building and developing political equality and mutual trust, economic cooperation for win-win results, exchange and mutual learning between Chinese and African civilizations, mutual assistance in security affairs and solidarity and cooperation in international affairs. With a view to speeding up China-Liberia relations in combination with these guidelines, the two countries need to:
-Remain committed to treating each other as equals and enhancing solidarity and mutual trust.
-Increase, improve and strengthen dialogue and cooperation mechanisms between the governments of the two sides at all levels.
-Strengthen China’s cooperation with Liberia in safeguarding peace, stability and development to promote the socio-economic development of Liberia;
-Adhere to the principle of upholding justice and promoting common interests and common development.
-Actively pursue cooperation between our industries and develop industrial capacity, and jointly promote the process of industrialization and agricultural modernization.
-Focus on strengthening cooperation in infrastructure projects as well as human resource development cooperation and capacity building.
-Insist on mutual learning with improved coordination and growth through mutual efforts.
-Deepen cooperation in various fields such as development assistance, medical care and public health, education, science and technology and knowledge sharing, and ecological and environmental protection;
-Strengthen people to people and cultural exchanges and cooperation between the two countries with a view to deepening the understanding and friendship between the peoples of China and Liberia.
China is pushing forward the One Belt and One Road Initiative and the African countries are looking forward to speeding up their industrialization and agricultural modernization processes, dedicated to achieving economic independence and self-reliant sustainable development. Through more than 3 decades of reforms, opening and rapid growth, China has come into possession of a multitude of advantageous industries and capacities and is well ready to achieve mutual beneficial and win-win results and common development with Liberia on the mutual complementation basis. I believe, China-Liberia cooperation development is blessed with shared needs, advantages and opportunities, which will make Liberia an important foothold for the One Belt and One Road Initiative.
In view of the above, a more mature and comprehensive China-Liberia relationship will make it possible for bilateral cooperation to expand in scope and depth, and for mutual interests and win-win cooperation to grow. This will bring tangible benefits to the people of both countries. As the long-expected State Visit by President Sirleaf is approaching, China is ready to keep working with Liberia to ensure the success of the visit and to ensure China-Liberia relations continues to flourish.