President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has extolled the Government of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) for the important role they’re playing in Liberia’s recovery process, including helping to attract critical private sector investments in the mining sector, professional contractual service in the construction sector, and support for critical infrastructure in the health and education sectors.
She highlighted China’s support to the country’s peace and security through a sizable contingent of Chinese military personnel in UNMIL, equipping and expanding the capacity of the Armed Forces of Liberia through donated construction equipment, but most especially, the significant role played in Liberia’s fight against the deadly Ebola virus disease.
The Liberian leader made the remarks at the country’s Embassy in Oldest Congo Town on the occasion marking the 66th Anniversary of the founding of the PRC on Friday, September 11, 2015.
President Sirleaf recalled that during the deadly outbreak, China was the first friendly country to provide humanitarian support in the form of material supplies and equipment. “China also provided a chartered flight loaded with medical equipment and materials valued at US$1,800,000 to jumpstart the construction of Ebola Treatment Units (ETUs),” she said, adding that China constructed a 100-bed ETU worth US$5 million and provided a team of medical experts to operate the Unit. “This very needed response builds upon the important contribution in the health sector through the construction and equipping of a modern hospital in one of our highly concentrated counties.”
She noted that Liberia and China have enjoyed a long and cherished relationship spanning several decades; noting that two years ago this was further consolidated by the passage of a resolution by both Houses of the National Legislature reaffirming the “One China Policy” as the political basis for the country’s relationship and demonstrating that Liberians are supportive of the friendship and cooperation enjoyed with China.
On the occasion marking the National Day celebrations, President Sirleaf extended, through the Ambassador, congratulations and warmest felicitations on behalf of the Government and people of Liberia, to His Excellency President Xi Jinping and the Government and gallant people of the PRC.
Speaking earlier, PRC Ambassador to Liberia,His Excellency Mr. Zhang Yue said the visit of his country’s Foreign Minister, Mr. Wang Yi to Liberia a month ago has turned a new page in the bilateral cooperation between the two countries, especially in the post-Ebola era.
He assured that as promised by Foreign Minister Wang Yi, China will fully support Liberia’s Economic Stabilization and Recovery Plan and will focus on the bilateral cooperation in health, education, infrastructure, agriculture and other fields.
“Considering the urgent need of Liberia, China will speed up the aid projects especially the renovation of the Samuel Doe Sports Stadium, the construction of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center, Ministerial Complex, Annexes to the Capitol Building and the diplomatic lounge at the Roberts International Airport,” the Chinese Ambassador assured, adding that China will help Liberia break the bottlenecks in development which he said included insufficient infrastructure and human resources. He pledged to encourage and support Chinese enterprises participate in the development of infrastructure in various ways including the promotion of capacity-building opportunities especially for Liberians to study in China.
Ambassador Zhang Yue promised to enhance cooperation in the manufacturing sector so that Liberia can make the best use of and add value to its own resources and improve its sustainable self-development capacity.
The Chinese Envoy, who has served this mission for the past one and half years, said he is deeply impressed by the firm commitment of both governments to push forward the practical cooperation and the strong wish of the two peoples to tighten friendship between both countries. He said although Sino-Liberia relations has suffered twists and turns in the past, the two countries have never given up the faith that they should sail in the same boat and share the good and bad times.
Celebrating the 66th Anniversary of the Founding of the PRC this year, Ambassador Zhang Yue said China has achieved remarkable development with a historic leap in comprehensive national strength and a big upgrade of people’s living standards.
China is the second largest economy in the world with the largest trade volume and foreign exchange reserves. It is also the third largest overseas investment. It is also the largest trading partner of 130 countries. Last year China’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) surpassed US$10 trillion. The GDP per capital has risen from less than US$100 in the early days of the PRC to nearly US$7,500 today.
The Chinese envoy said though China has made notable achievements in development, its basic attributes of a developing country hasn’t changed. “We still face great challenges, such as a large population, comparatively weak economic foundation, imbalance of development and so on,” he pointed out, adding that China still has a population of 200 million people living below the poverty line as defined by the United Nations.
He predicts that the country still has a long way to go for common prosperity. Besides, the road to global economic recovery is bumpy, with many ups and downs and the performance of the major economies has been divergent.