Liberia’s Senate Delegation Meets with Chairman of the NPC Standing Committee, Mr. Li Zhanshu
BEIJING, China – The Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress (NPC) says the People’s Republic of China (PRC) attaches great importance to the growing relations with Liberia and is committed to follow and observe the principles of sincerity, real results, amity, good faith and the principle of pursuing both countries shared interests as instructed by the Chinese President, H. E. Mr. Xi Jinping.
“We will work with Liberia to implement the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit as well as our cooperation within the Belt and Road framework so that our relations will excel to a higher level,” he assured; emphasizing President Xi’s “five-no” approach in its relations with Africa including: no interference in the African countries pursuit of development paths; no interference in African countries internal affairs; no imposition of China’s will on African countries; no attachment of political strings regarding assistance; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa.
“In all, we are ready to work with all our African brothers and sisters including Liberia to build a closer community of shared interests,” he noted.
According to a dispatch from the Liberian Embassy near Beijing, Mr. Li Zhanshu made the assertion when he received a Liberian Senate delegation on an official visit to China recently. The delegation, led by the President Pro-Tempore, Mr. Albert T Chie, included Senators Jonathan L. Kaipay of Grand Bassa County and Francis S. Paye of Rivercess County.
The NPC Chairman indicated that relations between China and Liberia will continue to grow. “We have been deepening our political trust and supporting each other on issues involving our core interests and major concerns,” he stressed; noting further that China highly appreciates the fact that Liberia continues to confirm and reaffirm the “One-China Policy”.
“The “One-China” principle is an important political foundation for China to develop relations with any other country. It is also an important assurance for China and Liberia to ensure further development of relations and cooperation since the re-establishment of diplomatic relations 16 years ago.
“I do hope that [Honorable Pro-Tempore] and the National Legislature will continue to work with the Chinese side to uphold the major interests of our friendship, deepen political mutual trust, strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation and advance our bilateral relations,” he stressed.
Mr. Li Zhanshu noted that China and Liberia are developing countries and faced with the target of eradicating poverty, achieving prosperity and development as well as aspiring to improve the lives of their people. “China appreciates the poverty reduction programme as advocated by President George Weah and we’re ready to engage in mutually beneficial exchanges and cooperation with Liberia on issues involved in the poverty alleviation programmes including agriculture, infrastructure development, education, health, development of the youth and job creation,” he reiterated.
He furthered that China was also ready to offer various assistance in areas including the development of roads and bridges, public health, agricultural technology, personnel training and peace and security. He also promised to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Liberia. “We are ready to play our own role to provide legal support and policy assurances for closer cooperation between our two countries,” Mr. Li stated.
Mr. Li highlighted the NPC’s readiness to step up cooperation exchanges with both the Senate and the House of Representatives and announced that later this year, a Vice Chairperson of the NPC will visit Liberia which will be an important milestone in the history of the exchanges between the two parliaments.
For his part, the President Pro-Tempore of the Liberian Senate thanked the NPC chairman for granting them audience and noted that their visit to China signals the strong friendship between the government and peoples of both countries.
Mr. Chie sincerely thanked and commended the government and people of China for the numerous assistance that has been provided and continues to provide to the government and people of Liberia, highlighting the construction of the two annexes at the Capitol Building at the cost of approximately US$12.9 million which has alleviated the space constraints experienced at the National Legislature.
He also highlighted China’s assistance during the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease, other infrastructure projects, completed and ongoing, funded by the Chinese Government including the new ministerial complex expected to host several ministries and the Roberts International Airport terminal built by the Chinese Government through a concessional loan expected to be dedicated during the 172nd Independence Anniversary later this month.
On the multilateral front, Mr. Chie thanked the government of China for their cooperation with African countries through the FOCAC mechanism and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and its shared values for growth and development.
“The Liberian Senate has also taken note of the good cooperation between China and Liberia in international affairs and both countries will continue to work together to achieve the goals of the United Nations, World Health Organization, UNESCO, and the World Trade Organization, among others,” he said.
The Liberian Senate’s President Pro-Tempore used the opportunity to appeal for technical assistance from China in sharing its expertise on how they achieved self-sufficiency in agriculture and food production. “We are pleased to note that China with a population of over 1.4 billion can feed itself. Our country, with a little over a little over four million is finding it very difficult to achieve agricultural sustainability. We import most of our food commodities. We want to use the BRI to emulate the good example of China on how it achieved food sufficiency and we look for better cooperation and assistance in that regard,” Mr. Chie appealed.
In response, to his appeal for support to Liberia’s agricultural sector, Mr. Li indicated that though China does have challenges as well as good experience in advanced management and farming technologies, he suggested that Liberia sends an agricultural team to China so that there can be more focused and professionalized discussions as China does encourage mutual learning and exchanges in the agriculture sector.