President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has received the Special Envoy of the People’s Republic of China Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Mr. Zhou Yuxiao
According to an Executive Mansion release, the Liberian leader welcomed Ambassador Zhou, also a former Chinese Ambassador to Liberia and expressed happiness that he could make it back to “his second home” after a long period of absence.
“Mr. Ambassador. I say welcome back home because you 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
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 aircraft 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 Zhou about outstanding projects being undertaken by China in Liberia and asked for action to implement same.
Responding, the Chinese Special Envoy on FOCAC extended warm greetings from the President of the People’s Republic of China.
He said 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 views on international matters with emphasis on the United Nations.
“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.