Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan has stated that the bilateral relations between the Republic of Liberia and the People’s Republic of China is strong at the moment.
The Liberian Foreign Minister stated that the strength of the diplomatic relationship between both nations cannot be overly emphasized because it is “waxing stronger day by day.”
According to a Foreign Ministry release, Hon. Ngafuan made the remarks at a dinner hosted by his Ministry Saturday night in honor of a 20-man Chinese Business Delegation.
Speaking further, Foreign Minister Ngafuan said Liberia’s Ebola crisis of 2014 was a “test of the solidity” of the cordial ties that exist between both nations; adding: “A friend in need is a friend in deed.”
“During the crisis, some individuals and countries came very close to us; some went far from us, so we know the difference. As bad as that crisis was, it was an opportunity to know our true friends; and China distinguished itself as one of Liberia’s truest friends,” the Minister said.
He disclosed that Liberia has drawn up an Economic Recovery Plan that it is expected to use as a blueprint in order to lead the nation out of the woods. He added that following the Chinese business delegation, would be the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China, who is expected in Liberia for a visit.
This will be the first visit of H. E. Hon. Wang Yi, Foreign Minister of China, to Liberia.
Foreign Minister Ngafuan termed his counterpart’s visit as a “big visit” and that he is working with the Chinese Ambassador accredited near Monrovia, Amb. Zhang Yue, to make Mr. Wang’s visit a successful and significant one.
The Liberian foreign Minister said Liberia’s history, since 2006 when President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf came to power, cannot be fully written if chapters are not dedicated to the very important roles China has played and continue to play in Liberia’s recovery process from decades of war.
“We cannot talk about Liberia’s development without talking about China and its role,” he emphasized. He named many infrastructures, including the Foreign Ministry, that have China’s fingerprints on them.
He stated that he was especially happy with the theme of the visit — “2015 Sino-Liberia WIN-WIN Visit.”
The Foreign Minister further said that both nations have worked together politically to make their relationship strong, both at the level of the United Nations and are now doing all to solidify the ties through business and trade.
Min. Ngafuan urged the Chinese delegation to link up with Liberian entrepreneurs in order to see the nation’s private sector grow.
He stressed: “In order to make this visit a ‘win-win’, we have to identify with Liberian entrepreneurs so that they, too, can grow as these business intentions grow.”
The Minister craved for a day that Liberia, too, can get so “significant” and be able to feed a business delegation to China.
The Chinese delegation, including representatives of Chinese companies, is accompanied here by Liberia’s Ambassador accredited near Beijing, H. E. D. McKinley Thomas.
Speaking, Amb. Thomas said the he was simply trying to execute the “brief” that was given to him by his boss, Foreign Minister Ngafuan.
The Minister’s brief instructed him to promote economic and development diplomacy so that more Liberians’ lives can be transformed for the better back home.
“Today, it is a fulfillment of a portion of that brief, Mr. Minister,” he stated.
Ambassador Thomas and his wife tendered in a launch for their Chinese guests on Sunday, August 2.
Amb. Thomas further stated that the visit shows that the cordial ties that exist between Liberia and China is strong and added: “Mr. Minister, I am pleased to report that China is our friend.”
For his part, Chinese Amb. Zhang Yue spoke of the warm hospitality his commercial delegation has received so far from their hosts. He confirmed that his country’s Foreign Minister is expected to visit Liberia shortly.
Amb. Zhang further stated that the Sino-Liberia relationship is being strengthened daily.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs release states that the Chinese delegation is in the country in order to explore means to invest in infrastructures, energy and other local businesses in post-war Liberia.
Representatives of major Chinese companies that are a part of the visiting delegation come from the mining, power and high tech sectors.
Other companies forming a part of the delegation include China Railway Material, and Sino-Tech Minerals, power China (BEC), Hydro China, and China Harbor Engineering Co.
Others are Ginko Engineering Co. Ltd., Sino-German Engineering Co and SEPCO III Power Construction and Heknan Jingyuan guoye as well as the Shandong Exit Secure Network Technology Co.
The visiting delegation, dubbed “2015 Sino-Liberia WIN-WIN Visit”, will hold major discussions with stakeholders from both government and private entities in Liberia beginning July 31 to August 10, 2015.
The dinner was attended by Liberian government officials from the Ministries of Posts and Telecommunications, Agriculture, Education and Commerce and Industry. Officials from the National Investment Commission (NIC) were also present.