Honorable Chief of Justice Desmond Edwards,
Honorable Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation Professor David Francis,
Honorable Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Respected Party leaders,
Your Excellencies Colleague Ambassadors and High Commissioners,
Members of the Diplomatic and Consular Corps,
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
Good morning. Warmly welcome to the online reception in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Establishment of China-Sierra Leone Diplomatic Relations. First of all, please allow me to express my deep gratitude to all of you for taking time out of busy schedule to attend today’s reception.
To our greatest joy and excitement, H.E. President Xi Jinping and H.E. President Julius Maada Bio have exchanged messages of congratulations on this important occasion. Our two foreign ministers did the same. In his congratulatory message, President Xi Jinping extended warm congratulations and best wishes on behalf of the Chinese government and people and in his own name to H.E. President Bio and through President Bio to the friendly government and people of Sierra Leone.
In the message, President Xi said that“despite changes in the international landscape, our two countries have always rendered each other understanding and support on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns. Our cooperation in the economic field and that related to people’s well-being has yielded fruitful results. In the face of the stern challenges posed by COVID-19, our peoples have stood with each other and assisted each other in pandemic response, demonstrating our brotherly bond, one that has seen us through thick and thin.”
President Xi also said that he placed great importance on China’s relations with Sierra Leone and looked forward to working with President Bio to cement our friendship and mutual trust, deepen practical cooperation, and promote further growth of the China-Sierra Leone comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership for the benefit of our two countries and peoples.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen，
50 years ago, our great leaders and forefatherslate Chairman Mao Zedong and late President Siaka Stevens made the historical decision to establish diplomatic ties between China and Sierra Leone. Over the past 50 years, through joint efforts of our two governments and two peoples, China-Sierra Leone friendly relations have grown rapidly andyielded notable results to the satisfaction and pride of both sides.
The past 50 years witnessed the come-into-being of the Youyi Building, the National Stadium, the Mange Bridge, the Magbass Sugar complex, the RSLAF headquarters in the 1970s and 80s, the China-Sierra Leone Friendship Road, the Bo Stadium, the Jui Hospital, the China-Sierra Leone Friendship Middle School and Primary Schools, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Office Building since 2000, and the second Juba Bridge, the Limkokwing-Regent Road, the Myohaung Officers’ Mess and Single Officers’ Quarters, the National Optical Fiber Backbone Network Phase Two and the newly started Foreign Service Academy etc. since 2018.
The past 50 years witnessed the expansion of our trade and economic cooperation.Our bilateral trade volume reached 530 million USD last year.The accumulated direct investment from China to Sierra Leone reached 3 billion USD in 2020. Since 1973, the Chinese government has dispatched more than 500 Chinese medical staff to Sierra Leone under the health assistance program. Since1976, China has provided government scholarships to over 1000 Sierra Leonean students for them to study in China. Since 1991, China has dispatched about 100 agricultural experts to Sierra Leone to provide technical training.
The past 50 years witnessed the development of our relations into a strategic level. There have been close exchanges of high level visits between our two countries and frequent cultural exchanges between our two peoples.Our two sides havenot only deepened bilateral cooperation but also cooperated in appropriately addressing international and regional issues. We have supported each othernot only in safeguarding national sovereignty, security, and territorial integrity but also inpromoting world peace, common development and international justice.
50 years down the path, China-Sierra Leone friendship is full of vitality, presenting a flourishing and thriving scene.
Today, on this auspicious occasion, I would like to express sincere gratitude and appreciation to all those in our two countries and other friends who have madeimportant contributions to the development of China-Sierra Leone friendship, including all of you here at the reception today. I wish to say thank you to all the political parties, the successive governments and parliaments, the various social organizations and friends from all walks of lifein Sierra Leone for their precious support to the development of China-Sierra Leone relations.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The remarkable achievements of China-Sierra Leone relations over the past 50 years are the natural result of mutual respect, mutual trust, mutual support and mutual benefit between our two sides.
In the past 50 years, China and Sierra Leone have always respected each other in choosing a development path that suits its own national conditions, never interfered into each other’s internal affairs and never imposed one’s will onto the other. China has never attached any political strings to its aid to Sierra Leone. Sierra Leone has firmly adhered to the one-China principle.
In the past 50 years, China and Sierra Leone have always treated each other equally and sincerely. We have never done anything to harm or disappoint each other. As H.E. President Xi Jinpingsaid, “China and Sierra Leone have always been good friends who stand together through thick and thin, and share weal and woe.” H.E. President Bio also said many times that Sierra Leone and China are reliable friends.
In the past 50 years, no matter how the international landscape or the domestic situations of our two countries evolve, China and Sierra Leone have always supported each other. China has actively helped Sierra Leone in promoting social economic progress and restoring peace and stability. Sierra Leone has supportedthe restoration of the legitimate seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations among other things. In the fight against Ebola, China was the first to assist Sierra Leone and now we are in solidarity against the COVID-19 pandemic. In conducting cooperation with Sierra Leone, China always follows the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith as well as the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests.
The history of China-Sierra Leone relations over the past 50 yearsdemonstrates that China-Sierra Leone friendshipis a valuable asset for both sides, both sides should always exert efforts to nurture and cultivate our cordial relations and the prospect of our relations is broad and bright because this relationship is based on equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.
Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen,
The 50-year extraordinary journey of China-Sierra Leone relations would not have been so smooth and fruitful had it not been for the care from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the major political parties of Sierra Leone. This year also marks the 100thanniversary of the founding of the CPC. Under the strong leadership of the CPC, China has successfully achieved its first centenary goal, attained a complete victory in the fight against object poverty and succeeded in building a moderately prosperous society in all respects. China is now marching toward the second centenary goal of realizing the Chinese Dream of great national rejuvenation.
Under the leadership of H.E. President Julius Maada Bio, the Sierra Leonean government and people are earnestly implementing the New Direction Agenda and the Mid-term National Development Plan for the transformation of Sierra Leone into a more beautiful and prosperous country.
Standing on the new starting point, the Chinese side will follow the important consensus reached by H.E. President Xi Jinpingand H.E. President Julius Maada Bio, and continue to work hand in hand with the Sierra Leonean side for the common development of our two countries, for the promotion of true multilateralism and for the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. Together, we will embrace a better future.
In conclusion, let me propose a toast,
to the good health of H.E. President Xi Jinping and H.E. President Julius Maada Bio!
to the prosperity of the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Sierra Leone!
tothe longevity of China-Sierra Leone friendship!