“On behalf of our President, H.E. George Manneh Weah, the Government and people of Liberia and in my own name, I want to extend through you to H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping and the people of this country our deepest appreciation for the friendship,” Mr Chie said; adding that China has made itself a beacon of hope not only for Liberia but most African countries as they have immensely contributed to education, health and infrastructural development across Africa.
According to a dispatch from the Liberian Embassy near Beijing, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberia Senate made the statement during a meeting his delegation held with the Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), Mr. Wang Yang, at the Great Hall of the People recently.
He used the opportunity to enumerate China’s numerous assistance to Liberia beginning with the deadly Ebola Virus Disease that ravaged the sub-regional countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea in 2014 and 2015. “We cannot stop saying thank you especially for your stance during our Ebola crisis. We are particularly grateful that China was the first to raise international alarm. It also took the extra step of sending 200 medical personnel from the People’s Liberation Army (PLA), the first of such, on that mission which greatly helped in defeating Ebola,” Mr. Chie emphasized.
The President Pro-Tempore also highlighted the two annexes built at the seat of the National Legislature to alleviate the infrasturctural constraints there; as well as the completion of the US$50 million ministerial complex funded by the Chinese Government and the US$60 million Roberts International Airport terminal funded from a concessionary loan provided by a Chinese financial institution and built by a Chinese company. Both projects will be dedicated by President George Weah during the celebration of the country’s 172nd Independence Anniversary, among others.
He reiterated Liberia’s commitment to the “One-China Policy” and promised to advocate for its adherence by all political parties and institutions in Liberia.
Mr. Chie expressed his gratitude for the level of Chinese investment in Liberia and appealed for more Chinese entrepreneurs and businessmen to invest in the Liberian economy. “We reaffirm and commit ourselves to protect Chinese investment in our country,” the President Pro-Tempore assured.
He also thanked the Chinese Government for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and for signing an MOU with Liberia to join the Belt and Road Initiative, terming it the largest economic platform in the world that will provide global economic growth through strengthening economic relationships. “Our country, Liberia, is pleased to be a part of this initiative developed by HE Mr. Xi Jinping.”
Under this initiative, he appealed for technical assistance to develop Liberia’s agriculture sector copying from the example of China with its population of 1.4 billion and still being self-sufficient in food production.
He also used the opportunity to thank Mr. Wang Yang for the invitation extended the Liberian Senate to visit the PRC and looked forward to a sustained relationship for the mutual benefit for both countries.
Mr. Chie later extended an official invitation to the CPPCC Chairman to visit Liberia at his own choosing.
Responding, Mr. Wang Yang thanked the President Pro-Tempore for kind sentiments expressed to the Government and people of China, most especially to President Xi Jinping. “I believe the warm regards that you sent to President Xi Jinping shows your very friendly sentiments to the Chinese people,” he said.
He stressed that though China and Liberia have different national conditions and a distance from each other, both countries are good friends and partners with mutual respect and equality.
He noted that since the resumption of diplomatic relations, the exchanges in cooperation between both countries have been enhanced in areas such as the political sector, the economy, people to people ties and foreign affairs; particularly highlighting the meeting between Presidents Xi Jinping and George Weah last September in Beijing, their very first meeting, lending strong impetus to the friendship and cooperation between the two countries in all sectors.
The CPPCC Chairman expressed the need to strengthen practical cooperation. He indicated that cooperation between China and Liberia has kept growing stronger and China regards Liberia as a major trading partner and source of investment. He was pleased that the China assisted projects have played a positive role in the socio-economic development of Liberia.
Mr. Wang Yang indicated that the signing of the memorandum of understanding on the Belt and Road Initiative as well as FOCAC creates an even broader prospect for cooperation. “China stands ready to continue to do our outmost to provide support to Liberia in areas such as infrastructure, medicine and health and agricultural technology.”
With his expertise in the agriculture sector, Mr. Wang Yang promised to encourage relevant Chinese institutions responsible for agriculture to provide technical assistance to the Government of Liberia to improve food security and the processing of agricultural products.
Mr. Wang stressed importance of the CPPCC strengthening its relationship with the Liberian Senate at all levels; as well as carrying out exchange of experience on national governance, promoting mutually beneficial cooperation and making new contributions to the overall bilateral relations.