By Edwin G. Wandah
The Government of Liberia through the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have honored outgoing Chinese Ambassador ZHAO Jianhua for his dedicated services and instrumentality in ensuring that all sectors of the Liberian society receive some developmental assistance from the People’s Republic of China.
Making the proclamation on Tuesday at the Chinese Embassy in Congo Town outside Monrovia, Foreign Minister, Augustine Ngafuan, lauded the Chinese Ambassador for what he called his innovation in the implementation of many investments and developmental projects carried out during his two years and eight months stay in Liberia.
The Liberian Foreign Minister who earlier appeared very sad immediately reconsolidated and he told the audience that the excellent job that the Ambassador has done in Liberia will ever be indelible.
“I am very happy to inform you that this man (Ambassador Jianhua) is a hero, a statesman and a dignitary whose absence will forever be remembered in Liberia; his three years and eight months have transformed certain aspects of the Liberian society, at least in some key areas, education, infrastructural development and road constructions which have connected most of our counties,” Minister Ngafuan averred.
For her part, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf also lauded Ambassador Jianhua but also asked the Ambassador to remember the marks he has made in the country as one of the brilliant ones that will forever be remembered by Liberians.
The Liberian leader said, the State of the Art Jackson Fiah Doe Hospital in Nimba, the ongoing Vocational Center, the MVTC and the Ministerial Complex are some of the projects that Liberians will be grateful for. She also extended thanks and appreciation to the Chinese Government for the level of supports being given to Liberia since the reestablishment of diplomatic relation between Liberia and China by the then Ex-President Moses Z. Blah who is now dead.
Responding, Chinese Ambassador ZHAO Jianhua extended warmest felicitation to the Liberian leader, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf and Government and the Liberian people for according him their hospitality during his stay in Liberia.
“Two years and eight months have passed since I came as Chinese Ambassador to Liberia in April, 2011 and during my tour of duty, I have received generous and valuable supports and assistance from the government of Liberia and the Liberian people and from the diplomatic corps and international organizations, to which I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude,” Ambassador ZHAO Jianhua stated.
Ambassador Jianhua elaborated that the relationship between the two sisterly nations has been cordial and vibrant over the years. “Politically, we have strengthened mutual trust; the Liberian Government firmly adheres to the One China Policy, China firmly supports Liberia’s peace and stability, reconstruction and transformation.
He stated further that the two countries have maintained the momentum of high-level visits and frequent exchanges. He said since 2003 China has been supporting the UNMIL, as a new contribution to UNMIL with the coming in of 140 Chinese riot police two months ago and China’s efforts to equip and train an engineering company for the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) and the coming in of equipment and a team of training experts that will arrive early next year.
Other areas targeted by the Chinese Government which have received some investments since the two nations reestablished diplomatic ties including Economic, Infrastructure, Governmental Capacity Building, Health Care, Agriculture and Education.
The Ambassador said China and Liberia have now become more closely connected by the volume of trade route between them which has been among the top five Western and Central African countries in the past several years, with increasing numbers of businessmen commuting between the two countries.
He said works on four projects, the Ministerial Complex, two Legislature Annexes, SKD Sports Complex renovation and the MVTC expansion all costing more than USD100million. “Madam President, it is you who initiated these big projects for the Liberian government and people; both sides need to work even harder to make sure that they are going to be handed over to you,” Ambassador Jianhua stated.
The Chinese Ambassador said other projects in addition to the ones already being implemented included the financing of a number of technical projects such as the maintenance of the SKD Sports Complex, the elevator at the Foreign Ministry, the Fendell Campus, the Agriculture Demonstration Center, Chinese Medical Team at JFK, Bamboo and Rattan Weaving training program at the Ministry of Youth and Sports and the Traffic lights along the main roads in Monrovia.