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China - Sierra Leone Friendly and Cooperative Relations Have A Bright Future
2011/07/29

 

Forty years ago, on July 29, 1971, leaders of China and Sierra Leone made a historic decision to establish diplomatic relations, opening a new chapter in the history of the friendly relations between the two countries. “Bosom friends make distance irrelevant” . Although China and Sierra Leone are far apart from each other, the two sides have maintained close relationship since the establishment of diplomatic relations.

Over the past 40 years, the bilateral relationship has stood the test of time and witnessed great achievements in various fields. The bilateral relations have come to maturity. The two countries have maintained momentum for high-level contacts and exchanges. In recent years, His Excellency President Koroma has paid two visits to China. Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited Sierra Leone last year. Chinese President's special envoy Han Changfu attended the 50th independence celebration of Sierra Leone. All those visits have given impetus to the development of bilateral relations.

The two countries have conducted fruitful and pragmatic cooperation in various fields. Trade and economic relations between the two countries have developed steadily. In 2010, bilateral trade volume reached 109 million US dollars, and the total Chinese direct investment was 51.23 million US dollars. China-aided Youyi Building, National Stadium, Jui Hospital and many other projects have become strong symbols of friendship between the two countries. Fruitful cooperation in such areas as infrastructure, agriculture, education, health care, etc. has benefited many Sierra Leoneans. China has dispatched 15 batches of medical team to this country, and Chinese doctors have treated about 700,000 patients, performed 11,000 operations plus 10,000 cataract surgeries and delivered 2000 babies.

People-to-people exchanges between the two countries have also been expanded. Since 1976, China has provided more than 350 full government scholarships for Sierra Leonean students to study in China. Currently there are 30 Sierra Leonean students studying in China every year. Since 2000, China has provided more than 1200 short-term training opportunities for Sierra Leone. Nearly 300 Sierra Leonean government officials and people from all walks of life go to China for various trainings every year. At the same time, more and more Chinese people come to Sierra Leone for investment, business and exchanges.

It is an important component of China’s foreign policy to consolidate and develop friendly relations with Sierra Leone. China’s development will open up new opportunities for China - Sierra Leone cooperation, as China will provide more assistance to the country. There will be more common interests, interactions, practical cooperation, and coordination in international affairs between the two countries.

To mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, China and Sierra Leone have jointly held a series of events which include a photo exhibition, an art performance, a symposium, and a celebration reception. In Beijing, The Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries and the Embassy of Sierra Leone jointly held a celebration reception. All those have shown that both sides are willing to make concerted efforts to deepen friendship and strengthen cooperation so as to push bilateral relations to a new high.

The great Chinese philosopher Confucius said, “At 30, a man should be independent; at 40 he should be mature enough to understand the world.” China is committed to working more closely with Sierra Leone so that our bilateral relationship can move forward to a new era. China wants to take the 40th anniversary as a good opportunity and a new historical starting point to deepen traditional friendship, increase mutual trust and expand pragmatic cooperation with Sierra Leone. I am confident that China-Sierra Leone friendly and cooperative relations will have a bright future!

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