President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf received in audience the Special Envoy of the People’s Republic of China (PRC) Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), His Excellency Mr. Zhou Yuxiao; also a former PRC Ambassador to Liberia.
An Executive Mansion release says President Sirleaf welcomed Ambassador Yuxiao and expressed happiness that he could make it back to “his second home” after a long period of absence.
”Let me welcome you back home Mr. Ambassador. I say welcome back home because who lived and worked here with us and made many good friends including myself,” she said, adding further, “The fruits of your work in Liberia are visible and set the foundation upon which all other succeeding Ambassadors have stood to enhance China-Liberia relations and cooperation.”
President Sirleaf thanked China for its support to Liberia during the Ebola crisis and acknowledged that China was the first country to come to Liberia’s aid when international attention and support were initially not forthcoming. She recounted that China dispatched aircrafts loaded with much needed medical materials and supplies that were so critical and urgently needed at the time and admitted that it was a big support that began the process of containing the deadly Ebola virus disease.
She stressed that Liberia is pleased and happy to have contained the epidemic, but with the other two neighboring countries still reporting cases, the country cannot be considered totally free.
The Liberian leader indicated that the country was back on full alert, but with full confidence in the country’s capacity to respond to and deal with any future outbreak.
President Sirleaf called on China and international partners to give maximum support to Guinea and Sierra Leone which are still affected and to assist the region implement its regional plan – the Post-Ebola Economic Stabilization and Recovery Program – which has as an important component, improving the healthcare systems of the affected countries.
She acknowledged that China’s support to Liberia’s post-conflict recovery process has been impressive and has impacted many sectors including health, education, infrastructure, peacekeeping, national security, agriculture, energy, among others. “China’s footprints are clearly visible in all sectors, particularly the health sector with and construction and operationalization of the Jackson F. Doe Memorial Hospital in Tappita, Nimba County which provides services not only to Liberian, but other nationals in the sub-region.
President Sirleaf also told the Chinese Special Envoy that more emphasis should now be placed on the modernization and industrialization of the agricultural sector and the promotion of manufacturing to enhance job creation and the strengthening of the economy.
She also reminded Ambassador Yuxiao about outstanding projects being undertaken by China in Liberia and asked for action to implement same.
Responding, the Chinese Special Envoy on FOCAC extended warn greetings from the President of the People’s Republic of China and expressed joy and satisfaction at being and feeling at home in Liberia. “Madam President, I have been away from Liberia for a number of years now. What I see upon my return shows great progress and transformation. I am proud to have been a part of Liberia’s rebuilding process under your exemplary and extraordinary leadership which has not only ensured the transformation I see, but which led to the defeat of the deadly Ebola virus disease,” Special Envoy Yuxiao said.
The former Chinese Ambassador to Liberia indicated that he was in Liberia for three purposes: To share notes and views on Liberia-China relations and plans for the future; get President Sirleaf’s opinion on how China could do better with the FOCAC initiative; and to consult and exchange view on international matters with emphasis on the United Nations.
He informed President Sirleaf that China was very pleased with its bilateral relations with Liberia and acknowledged excellent cooperation on issues of the economy, trade, education, health, security, among others.
The former Ambassador pointed out that China is proud that it could stand by Liberia during the Ebola crisis. “This visit also aims at seeing how China and Liberia can work well together on development and cooperation after Ebola with particular focus on health, education and infrastructure.
Towards this end, the Chinese Special Envoy on FOCAC announced that China was fully ready to undertake and conclude all outstanding projects including the Ministerial complex, the Monrovia Vocational Training Center, the renovation of the Samuel Kanyon Doe Sports Complex and expansion work on the Capitol Building – the seat of the Liberian Legislature.
China also commits itself to new programs and projects during the post-Ebola recovery period consistent with the FOCAC Agenda.
He pointed out the teams for the various projects are being mobilized and processed and will in Liberia in the next two weeks.
On FOCAC, Ambassador Yuxiao pointed out that it has been around for over fifteen years now and options are being sought on how to make it grow and advance; thus making it better and bigger.
He said sincerity, real result, good trade have been key and critical to China’s relations and partnership with Africa and that China wants to benefit from President Sirleaf’s experience and wisdom on many issues.
He pointed out that China will work to align its interventions within the context of FOCAC to the African Union’s 2063 vision because the country’s excess production capacity has to be shipped to Africa, man regional aviation, railway network, agro modernization, among others as areas of importance.
He is visiting Liberia, Guinea, Mali, Ghana and Togo on his current tour.-Press Release