|Ambassador Zhou Yuxiao Delivered a Keynote Speech at Liberia-China Relation Workshop|
On April 26, Amb. Zhou Yuxiao delivered a keynote speech titled "China today and its relations with Liberia" on the China-Liberia relations workshop organized by Liberia-China Friendship Organization (LICFO). Hon. Etmonia Tarpeh, Minister of Youth & Sports, Hon. Henry Fahnbulleh, Assistant Minister for Afro-Asian Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, diplomats from the Chinese Embassy and LICFO members attended the workshop.
Amb. Zhou introduced today's China with 4 Ps, namely, population, progress, problems and policies. He said that, China's population, 1.5 times as big as the total population in the whole Africa continent, is still growing at a rate of one percent every year, even with the well-implemented one-child-per-couple-policy in place. In other words, China still produces an additional population of about 10 million a year, roughly an equivalent of 3 Liberian populations. With such a big population, Only China can help itself. China has made great progress in the past 30 years with the implementation of the policy of reform and opening up. First, China has changed from a closed or semi-closed society to one that is widely open for cooperation with all counties in the world regardless their size, ideology and political system; second, its economic management has made historic transition from a highly centralized planned economy to a robust socialist market economy; Third, people's life has changed from dire material shortage and poverty to abundance of consumer products and to a relatively well-to-do life in all aspects. The main factors that contribute to the progress and achievements in China are political and social stability, reform and opening-up, strong and responsible leadship, common goal, hardworking and discipline. However, China also faces some crucial problems. A big population, low productivity, unbalanced regional development remains the basic features of China's national conditions. China still has long way to go before it achieves modernization. To facilitate continued progress, some important policy guide lines have been formulated by the Chinese government. The first is to improve governance by building a harmonious society; the second is to take a scientific approach to development; the third is to pursue peaceful development. In fact, those policies are a continuation and advancement of the past 30 years of reform and opening-up. It is not only a national development strategy adopted by the Chinese government, but also a reflection of the mainstream cultural thoughts and values in the Chinese society today.
Talking about China-Liberia relations, Amb. Zhou said that, with the joint efforts made by both sides, the China-Liberia relations have grown rapidly since the resumption of diplomatic ties in 2003. satisfactory progress has been witnessed in bilateral cooperation in the political, economic, agricultural, health, educational and military fields. He briefly introduced bilateral cooperation and aid provided by China in those fields. Amb. Zhou concluded, " China needs Liberia as much as Liberia needs China. Both sides have benefited from this good relationship. Facts have proven that the choice made by Liberian politicians to normalize and develop its ties with China, a permanent member of the UN Security Council, is strategically correct and wise". However, currently much of China-Liberia economic activities are centering on aid projects, which is in some sense like "walking on one leg". Liberia needs to create favorable investment to attract foreign investment to realize "walking on two legs". Recently, China-African Development Fund visited Liberia to assess investment environment. It is expected that the visit will represent a milestone in bilateral economic relations and that more and more Chinese entrepreneurs will come to invest in Liberia.
Amb. Zhou said that Liberia has made visible and tangible progress in the past few years, but still faces a lot of challenges. "A friend in need is a friend indeed." China will continue to give its affordable assistance and unreservedly share with the Liberian side its experiences of successes to help Liberia's development.
Minister Tarpeh and Assistant Minister Fahnbulleh also shared their views on the status, problems and prospects of Sino-Liberia relations. They said that today's Sino-Liberia relations are better any time in the history of Sino-Liberia relations. It is in the interests of both peoples to develop to mutually beneficial relations. They believed that Liberia China relation would have a much brighter future.
Amb. Zhou also interacted with members of the LICFO on topics of their interests during and after the workshop.