|Speech at the Reception to Mark the 58th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China|
(Monrovia, September 29, 2007)
Your Excellency Madame Ellen Johnson Sirleaf,President of the Republic of Liberia
Hon. Alex Tyler, Speaker of the House of Representatives
Hon. Isaac Nyenabo, President Pro-Tempore of the Senate
Hon. Johnie N. Lewis, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Your Excellency Mr. Blah, Former President of the Republic of Liberia
Your Excellency Mr. Judy Bryant, Former Chairman of the Transitional
Government of Liberia
Hon. Henry Cooper, Former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court
Your Excellency Mr. William Bull, Acting Foreign Minister
Honorable Ministers, Deputy Ministers, Government Officials
Honorable Senators and Representatives of the Legislature
Your Excellences Dean of the Diplomatic Corps and Ambassadors
Distinguished Officers from UNMIL and the UN family
Respected friends from the media
Dear fellow countrymen
Ladies and Gentlemen, all protocols observed:
As you know, I am the newly accredited Chinese Ambassador to this great country. It is exactly one month today since my arrival. As this is the first major event I am hosting tonight, I wish to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to Madam President for kindly granting me an audience to accept the letters of credence shortly after my arrival, which made it possible for me to start work immediately, to the senior officials from all three arms of government for their assurances of support and assistance extended to me during my courtesy calls on them and to all the distinguished guests for joining us at this reception to mark the 58th anniversary of the founding the People's Republic of China. Please also allow me to extend warm festival greetings to all my fellow countrymen residing in Liberia.
This is an occasion that we mark every year. But this year, it is special. It's special for several reasons.
First, this is the thirtieth year of the initiation of China's opening-up and reform policy. It is this policy that has brought about earthshaking changes in China.
Second, the 17th National Congress of the Communist Party of China is to be held in forthcoming October. It will work out new development strategies that will have an extremely important impact on China's future.
Third, for the first time in Chinese history, China's GDP per capita hit 2,000 US Dollar mark and its foreign exchange reserves surpassed 1 trillion USD. China's total GDP reached 2.65 trillion USD, ranking the 4th in the world. China's foreign trade volume amounted to 1.76 trillion USD, ranking the 3rd in the world.
Fourth, all the preparations for the Olympic Games are going on smoothly as scheduled, which will certainly ensure the success of the Olympic Games in 2008.
Fifth, China's 8-point proposal made last November at the Beijing FOCUC Summit to support Africa's development is being implemented in real earnest. Initial but satisfactory results have been witnessed.
As patriotic Chinese, we are certainly proud of those new achievements. However, we are not carried away by them. We are fully aware that China is still a developing country whose per capita GDP ranks as low as 108th in the world. Challenges and difficulties lying ahead of us are enormous and formidable. Lifting the remaining 20 million poor people out of poverty is by no means an easy job. It's going to be an uphill journey to build China into a strong, democratic and civilized country.
Madam President, Ladies and Gentlemen,
As friends of Liberia, we have noticed with great joy that Liberia has made visible and touchable progress in the past 20 months since the democratically elected government took office in January 2006. Peace has taken roots in Liberia. The policy of national reconciliation has produced expected results. Economic reconstruction is gaining momentum. The budget for the current fiscal year is increased by nearly 50% over the previous year. People's life is being improved gradually. Sanctions on timber and diamond exportation were lifted. Liberia's huge external debt has been or is being cancelled, which will pave the way for foreign investment in the near future. Liberia is very rich in natural resources. Its people cherish peace and development more than anyone else. We are fully convinced that the Liberian government and people under the leadership of Madam President will achieve their set objectives by overcoming all difficulties on their way forward.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen
It is gratifying to see that China-Liberia relations have grown rapidly since the resumption of diplomatic ties in 2003. There have been regular high-level visits, which enhanced our mutual understanding and trust and set guidelines for a new type of strategic partnership between China and Liberia. Satisfactory progress has been witnessed in our bilateral cooperation in political, economic, agricultural, health and educational fields.
Chinese doctors, agricultural experts, bamboo and rattan weaving artisans are now working in Liberia. Nearly 600 Chinese peacekeepers are providing transport, engineering and medical services under blue helmets. 53 Liberian students are now studying at Chinese universities under full scholarship from the Chinese government. 370 Liberians have attended technical training courses in China in the past four years. The renovation of the SKD Stadium and the Foreign Ministry Office Building have been completed while the Tubman army barracks, the UL Fendell Campus, the LBS FM Radio Stations, one Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center, three rural schools and one hospital are under construction or discussion. All these aid projects have been given serious attention and strong support from the Liberian government, which facilitates their smooth implementation and progress.
China and Liberia have also enjoyed close cooperation and consultation in international affairs. China supports Liberia's peace and development efforts by voting in favor of deploying UN peacekeeping force in Liberia and by advocating debt cancellation for Liberia, while Liberia supports China's national reunification by firmly committing itself to one China policy both at multilateral and bilateral settings.
China is ready to work closer together with the Liberian side to bring the China-Liberia friendly relations and win-win and people-oriented cooperation to a higher level.
On a more personal note, I wish to assure you that I shall work as hard as my predecessor Ambassador Lin did to consolidate and substantiate our bilateral cooperation. Therefore, the departure of Ambassador Lin is not a loss, but a gain for Liberia as you now have two very devoted ambassadorial friends from China.
Ladies and Gentlemen
As part of the national day cerebration, a cultural show will be given later on by an art troupe from China's Anhui Province. This is the first Chinese cultural troupe sent to Liberia since the resumption of our bilateral relations. It is our firm belief that cultural exchanges will not only add a new dimension to our bilateral bonds, but also enhance our mutual understanding and respect for each other's culture. Therefore, quite a number of Liberian singers and dancers have been invited to perform in China. They won tremendous popularity there. We hope that the Chinese artists will also enjoy high popularity when they perform in Monrovia and Buchanan. May all of you enjoy the oriental performances and the Chinese food and have a pleasant evening together with us.
To conclude, may I invite all of you to join me in a toast,
to the profound friendship between China and Liberia,
to the lasting peace and development in both our countries,
to the health of Her Excellency Madam President Sirleaf and
to the health of all the distinguished guests present,