The periodbetweenlate March and early Aprilis mid-spring in China. It's my real delight to come to work in Sierra Leone again in this beautiful season.

First of all, I would like to convey the cordial greetings and best wishes from H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China to H.E. Julius Maada Bio,President of the Republic of Sierra Leone.At the same time, I bring with megood wishes from Chinese government and peopleto the government and people of Sierra Leone.

China and Sierra Leone enjoy a deep traditional friendship.On July 29, 1971, the two countriesformally established diplomatic ties. Over the past 48 years, the bilateral relations have been developing smoothly withclose high-level exchanges, deep political mutual trust and fruitful cooperation in economic, social and cultural fields. In 2016, China and Sierra Leoneestablisheda comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Over the years, China has always been contributing what she can tohelp promote peace and stability in Sierra Leone, as well as help Sierra Leone in achieving independent and sustainable development without interfering in the latter’s internal affairs. In 2014,China was among the first to assist the Sierra Leonean brothers and sisters in theirfight againstEbola,demonstrating the true spirit of sharing weal and woe.

On her part, Sierra Leone has always been firmly adhering to One-China policy and consistently givingher support on issues related to China's core interests and major concerns. The Chinese people will never forget thatit was Sierra Leone and other friendly countries that helpedChinaresumeher legitimate seat in the United Nations in 1971.In a word, China and Sierra Leone are true, good friendswho can go through thick and thin together.

The year 2018 is a vital year in the development of China-Sierra Leone relationship. In late August and early September that year, H.E. President Bio paid a state visit to China and attended the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit at the invitation of H.E.President Xi Jinping.The two heads of state held friendly and in-depth talks and reached important consensus on major bilateral issues, which provided political guidance and set outthe blueprint for the development of China-Sierra Leone relations. During the visit, the two sides signed a number of important cooperation documentsincluding theMemorandum of Understanding on the “Belt and Road” Initiative, laying a solid foundation for the broadening and deepening of cooperation in the future.

I feel proud to be assigned to Sierra Leone atthis important stage of fast development of China-Sierra Leone relations. And I have a sense of great responsibility. I will, following the direction set out by our two heads of state, work with my colleagues in the Embassy and friends from all walks of life in Sierra Leone to make new progress in China-Sierra Leone friendly cooperation andproduce more benefits to our two peoples. The following three tasks will be my top priority.

First, continuouslyenhance the sincere friendship and political mutual trustbetween our two sides to make the foundation of our bilateral cooperation rock-solid as ever. The Chinese side will continue to follow the two major principles laid down by President Xi Jinping, namely, the principle of honoring sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and that of pursuing the greater good and shared interests among countries. China will also continue to abide by the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and the prevailing norms of international relations and treat Sierra Leonewith equality, sincerity, mutual understanding and pursuewin-win cooperation. China fully respects the independent choice of development path and model by Sierra Leone and will never interfere in Sierra Leone's internal affairs. I fully believe that Sierra Leone will continue to respect China's core interests and firmly support China on its major concerns involving sovereignty, territorial integrity, security and dignity. Meanwhile, China will keep on strengthening communication and coordination with Sierra Leoneon international affairs and jointly safeguardingthe fundamental interests of each other and those of the developing countries.

Second, jointly implement the outcomes of 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit to bring more benefitsto our two peoples.In Septemberlast year, FOCAC Beijing Summit was successfully held, uplifting China-Africa relations to a historical new high. At the summit, President Xi Jinping announced “Eight Major Initiatives”for China-Africa cooperation in the coming three and more years, namely,industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchange, and peace and security. The “Eight Major Initiatives” highly correspondwith Africa's current and future development needs, and for that reason, many African friends have likened it to a“timely rain” insupporting Africa's independent and sustainable development.

The Chinese side has conducted active consultations with the Sierra Leonean side and will continue to do so with a view to indentifying areas and modes of cooperation, exploring feasible cooperation projects, and thoroughly studying how to better use the stock of and expand the increment inprojects inagriculture, health and sanitation, human resources development and infrastructure construction etc. Through the implemention of the outcomes of FOCAC Beijing Summit, we wish to helpthe government and people of Sierra Leoneincarrying out the New Direction Agenda proposed by President Bio for economic and social development.

Third, jointly promote the building of the “Belt and Road”, build an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future and a community with a shared future for humanity.The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)was proposed by President Xi Jinping for the purpose of expanding China's all-round opening under the new situation and working to enable more countries to share development opportunities and achievements. Thoughinitiatedby China,the opportunities and outcomes the BRI offers are to be shared by the world. Since its inception 6 years ago, 126 countries and 29 international organizations including37 African countries and the African Union Commission have inked cooperation agreements with China. All this sheds light on the fact thatthe BRI is a popular and worthy cause that goes along with the trend of our times and responds to the shared aspirations of countries for development through mutually beneficial cooperation. Guided by the principle of wide consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, the BRI aims at enhancing connectivity in policy, infrastructure, trade, finance and people-to-people ties (Five Connectivities in short).

Although very fewcertain countries and people have misunderstandings, misjudgments or even prejudice and smear on the BRI, the international community’s enthusiasm for participating in this initiative is not held back. The BRI, as a new “headstream of fresh water” for China-Africa cooperation, will bring more development resources and create greater room for cooperation for both sides. China and Sierra Leone have already made strides under the initiative, including but not limited to the exchange of development experiences, admission of a large number of Sierra Leonean students to study in Chinawith the Chinese side providing more Government Scholarships to the Sierra Leonean side, the construction of part of the Freetown Ring Road funded by Chinese government grant, the construction of the Lumley Market Second Juba Bridge co-funded by the two governments and the discussion ofcooperation inquay project in line with commercial principles, all of which illustrate the spirit of “Five Connectivities”and stand forgreat potential for cooperation between China and Sierra Leone within the framework of the BRI.

I workedin Sierra Leonefor three years from 2002 to 2005. 14 years later I am back here and findout that there have been so many important positive changes in this country, which fully demonstrate that the government and peopleof Sierra Leone are on the right path towards development and revitalization. I sincerely wish that Sierra Leone andher people will continue to make even greater achievements under the leadership of H.E. President Bio.I am full of confidence in the broad prospects of China-Sierra Leone friendlycooperation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Speech by H.E. Ambassador Hu Zhangliang

At the Press Briefing

 

(April 30, 2019)

Development of China

This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.Over the past 70 years, under the strong and correct leadership of the communist party of China (CPC), our people have forged ahead as one in the last 70 years and made great strides that have truly impressed the world.

Firstly, China’s economy has grown by epoch-making leaps and bounds.When PRC was founded in 1949, it was a poor and backward agricultural country.Today, China's GDP totaled $12 trillion, accounting for about 15 percent of the world economy.China has become the world's second largest economy, the largest industrial country, the largest trading nation of goods, the largest foreign exchange reserve country and top producer of more than 220 products.

At present, China's economy has shifted from high-speed growth to high-quality development.China has made major breakthroughs in high-tech fields such as manned spaceflight, lunar exploration, deep sea submersible, super computing, beidou navigation and quantum communication, and is at the world's advanced level in high-speed rail, mobile communications and nuclear power.

Development of China’s rail is a case in point. When the PRC was founded in 1949 with a small milage and low standard, total railway length was only 22,000 kilometers, half of which was paralyzed. By the end of 2018, China’s rail network had grown to over 130,000 kilometers, and high-speed rail had reached 25,000 kilometers, accounting for more than two-thirds of the world’s total. It has become the highest-speed railway network in the world.

Secondly, living standards of the Chinese people have significantly improved. The Chinese people have emerged from scarcity to abundance and from poverty to moderate prosperity. With this, China realized the UN Millennium Development Goal as well as UN Sustainable Agenda for poverty reduction ahead of schedule.

Between 1949 and 2018, China’s per capita GDP increased from 27 US Dollars to nearly 10,000 US Dollars. According to current UN standards, more than 700 million Chinese people have been lifted out of poverty. The largest middle-income groupin the world has been formed in Chinawith a scale of over 400 million people.

China has built basic pension insurance and medical insurance systems covering more than 900 million people and 1.3 billion people respectively, realized the free nine-year compulsory education, built the world's largest social security network, and raised the average life expectancy from 35 years before 1949 to 76.7 years in 2017.

Thirdly, China’s relations with the world have been transformed historically. The once closed and semi-closed country becomes one that opens up on all fronts.

China is a contributor to world economy.China's contribution to the world economic growth has surpassed 30% for many years consecutively and it has been a key engine driving world economic growth.As the world’s largest developing country, China is a sincere friend and close partner of other developing countries. Through experience sharing, aid and personnel training, China has supported other developing countries in their fight against poverty.As of today, China has provided nearly 400 billion RMB yuan in development aid to more than 160 countries and international organizations. As of the end of 2017, China's foreign direct investment stock was 1.8 trillion US dollars, ranking second in the world.

China is a defender of world peace.As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, China shoulders and has fulfilled the special responsibilities of safeguarding world peace. China is the second largest contributor to the UN peacekeeping budget and the largest contributor of peacekeeping personnel among the P5.

China is an upholder of world order. China is committed to an independent foreign policy of peace and stayed on the path of peaceful development.China will pursue a win-win strategy of opening-up, firmly uphold the basic norms governing international relations, and uphold international fairness and justice.

Extraordinary, huge, historic achievements. How can?

China's development experience includes:1)Uphold the CPC's leadership in all the work and constantly strengthen and improve the party's leadership. 2)continue to put the people at the center of our work and constantly realize their aspirations for a better life.3)continue to follow the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and continue to uphold and develop socialism with Chinese characteristics.4) adhere to the development as the top priority, and constantly enhance our overall national strength.5) adhere to reform and opening up, also keep adopting new development concept, embrace the world with a broader mind and promote the building of a community of shared future for mankind and a  new type of international relations.

Of course, China still face the bottlenecks of insufficient and imbalanceddevelopment. Currently, China ranks the 71st in the world in per capita GDP and the 91st in human development index. There are still about 18 million Chinese living in poverty, more than 80 million people with disabilities, over 200 million pensioners in need of care and about 15 million new work forces in need of a job every year. China is facing three critical battles, namely major risks forestalling and defusing, precision poverty alleviation and pollution prevention. Guided by Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, the Chinese government and people will overcome all kinds of difficulties, spare no effort in pushing for the realization of the Two Centenary Goals——to fulfill building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by the time the Communist Party of China celebrates its centenary in 2021; and to turn China into a modern socialist country that is prosperous, strong, democratic, culturally advanced, and harmonious by the time the People’s Republic of China celebrates its centenary in 2049, and the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and deliver impressive scores to the development of both China and the world.

Belt and Road Initiative

Although protectionism and unilateralism are mounting these days, China will continue to hold high the banner of peace, development, cooperation, and mutual benefit and uphold its fundamental foreign policy goal of preserving world peace and promoting common development, and to forge a new form of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice, and win-win cooperation, to build a community with a shared future for humanity.

In the Autumn of 2013, President of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Xi Jinping proposed that jointly build the “Belt and Road” Initiative (BRI) to enhance both China’s development and its cooperation with global partners and focus on the future of human development. The BRI has yielded remarkable achievements and fruitful results since it's inception six years ago, becoming an international cooperative platform with extensive participation and a popular public good in the world today.

The Second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) was held several days ago, from April 25 to 27 in Beijing and nearly 5,000 foreign guests from more than 150 countries and 90 international organizations participated in the forum, including near 40 heads of state or government, over 360 ministerial officials, over 100 heads of international organizations and more than 4,100 Chinese and foreign media journalists.

On 26 April, President of the People’s Republic of China, H.E. Xi Jinping attended the Opening Ceremony of the 2nd BRF and delivered a keynote speech titled “Working Together to Deliver a Brighter FutureFor Belt and Road Cooperation”. President Xi stressed that the joint pursuit of the BRIaims to enhance connectivity and practical cooperation. It is about jointly meeting various challenges and risks confronting mankind and delivering win-win outcomes and common development. President Xi pointed out, infrastructure is the bedrock of connectivity, and the flow of goods, capital, technology and people will power economic growth and create broad space for it. President Xi promised that China will take a series of major reform and opening-up measures and make stronger institutional and structural moves to boost higher quality opening-up.

The leaders who attended the roundtable conference spoke positively of the progress and significance of the BRI cooperation, and agree that the BRI is the road to common prosperity. The early harvest of the BRI has opened up more space for economic growth in the participating countries and the world as a whole, created a platform for strengthening international cooperation, and made new contributions to building a community with a shared future for humanity.

The leaders who attended the roundtable conference unanimously agree with President Xi Jinping's commitment to jointly build a high-quality BRI and adhered to the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, and that all parties should negotiate on an equal footing, share responsibility and benefit together. Guided by supporting open, clean and green development and rejecting protectionism, all parties have agreed to act on the principles of high standard, people-centered and sustainable development, follow the philosophy of people-centered development, and pursue coordinated progress in economic, social and environmental dimensions. The joint goal is to realize more effective connectivity between countries, promote stronger economic growth and closer international cooperation, and deliver better lives to the peoples.The leaders also clarified the key points for future BRI cooperation and you may refer to the Joint Communique of the Leaders' Roundtable for more details. Further, the leaders and principals of international organizations present at the roundtablesupported the idea of building a global partnership on connectivity and agreed to strengthen mechanisms for Belt and Road cooperation as well as uphold multilateralism, and work to foster a framework led by the BRF and underpinned by multilateral and bilateral cooperation in various areas. All parties shared the view that the BRF is an important platform for multilateral cooperation and support holding the forum on a regular basis.

In the run-up to and during the course of this forum, the parties reached more than 283 deliverables. A great many business representatives participated in the entrepreneur conference and signed project cooperation agreements worth over 64 billion US dollars.

The Chinese government will continue to implement the Green Silk Road Envoys Program, which will train 1,500 environmental officials from the participating countries of the Belt and Road Initiative in the next three years. The Ministry of Science and Technology of China announced the Belt and Road talents exchange program, supporting 5,000 talents from China and BRI partner countries in innovation exchange and cooperation in the next five years.China will initiate the experience sharing program for Belt and Road partner countries, inviting 10,000 representatives to China from these countries in the next five years, including those from political parties, political organizations, think tanks and social organizations, as well as senior political figures and scholars.

All of this shows that Belt and Road cooperation is in sync with the times, widely supported, people-centered and beneficial to all. This year's forum sends a clear message: more and more friends and partners will join in Belt and Road cooperation, and the cooperation will enjoy higher quality and brighter prospects. The “Belt and Road” initiative originated in China, and the opportunities and achievements belong to the world.

Outcomes of China-Africa Cooperation

China and Africa have always belonged to a community of shared future. Over the past five decades and more, they have always been good friends who stand together through thick and thin, good partners who share weal and woe, and good brothers who fully trust each other despite changes in the international landscape.China always adheres to the principles of its Africa policy -- sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, and push for new leapfrog growth of its friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation with Africa.It never interferes in African countries' internal affairs, never imposes its will on them, and attaches no political strings when providing aid to Africa.

In September 2019, President Xi Jinping announced “Eight Major Initiatives” for China-Africa cooperation at FOCAC Beijing Summit in the coming three and more years, namely, industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchange, and peace and security, depicted the blueprint for developing China-Africa cooperation in the new era. China has and will continue to create greater synergy with other friendly African countries, select cooperation fields and fully tap into the strengths of each other to effectively implement the FOCAC Beijing Summit outcomes.

China is committed to support Sierra Leone

By N’fa Alie Koroma

The Charge d’Affairs of the Chinese Embassy in Sierra Leone, Counselor Wang Xinmin has has said, the People’s Republic of China is committed in supporting Sierra Leone’s new direction development agenda.

Counselor Wang made the statement recently while addressing the press at the Embassy’s Spur Loop office in Freetown.
Speaking on the Fish Harbor Project, he recalled the signing of an agreement between the then Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone, His Excellency Wu Peng and Sierra Leone’s Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Dr. Alie Kabbah on behalf of the two countries, in January 2019.

The agreement outlined the economic and technical cooperation between China and Sierra Leone. China agreed to provide Sierra Leone with 200 million yuan (around $30 million) to explore and implement the Fish Harbor Project.

According to the Connselor, Chinese companies are presently negotiating a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Fisheries on the shore facilities investment.

On the National Fibre Backbone Phase II project, Counselor Wang explained the plan to lay a 721.5-kilometer fiber-optic network covering 15 major cities in the northern, eastern and southern regions of Sierra Leone, with a project value of $30 million.

Presently, he said China is waiting for the Sierra Leonean side to confirm the project and prepare relevant information at the request of the Export-Import Bank of China, at which time the Chinese side will continue to promote the follow-up work together with Sierra Leone.

On Military Aid Gratis to the Republic of Sierra Leone Armed Forces (RSLAF), the Charge d’Affairs said it would be implemented to further develop the friendly relationship between the two countries’ armed forces, and added that the Chinese Ministry of Defense provided 50 million yuan military aid gratis to RSLAF. The gratis, he said, will be utilized for the refurbishment of military officers’ quarters among other things.

China has also expressed its willingness to strengthen Sierra Leone’s Foreign Service Academy to provide better training services to career diplomats, for which the Sierra Leone government has proposed to construct a foreign Service Academy by using a Chinese government aided fund. As a partner who always acts swiftly to the requests of Sierra Leone, Wang said China is actively studying the project.

Another major area of development is in the field of agriculture, which China recognizes as one of Sierra Leone government’s top priorities under the New Direction Agenda. “China, as a great agricultural country, is willing to share its experience and strengthen cooperation with Sierra Leone on agriculture development while actively studying agricultural cooperation projects in an ‘investment + aid’ model,” Wang remarked. Recently, a good number of Chinese companies have shown an interest in investing in the West African country’s agriculture sector, and a number of companies have signed agreements with Sierra Leone’s Agriculture Ministry.

Under educational cooperation, more than 13, 000 Sierra Leoneans went to China for various training programmes in 2018 with the sponsorship of the Chinese government, and more than 100 Sierra Leonean students furthered their study in China through the Chinese Government scholarship programme. This year’s programme has already received a large number of applicants.