Sierra Leone: Chinese Ambassador Hails Deepening Political Trust Between China, Sierra Leone

Chinese Ambassador to Sierra Leone Zhao Yanbo has hailed the "deepening political trust" between China and the West African Country.

Speaking to Xinhua in an exclusive interview on the eve of the 45th anniversary of China-Sierra Leone diplomatic relations, the Chinese ambassador pointed out that China and Sierra Leone have always supported each other, both "regionally and internationally."

"Political trust is the rudder that keeps the ship of China-Sierra Leone relations on its right direction," said the ambassador.

The two countries have engaged in robust trade and business cooperation, injecting inexhaustible vigor into bilateral relations, said Zhao, citing that bilateral trade in 2014 hit a record of 1.8 billion U.S. dollars.

The ambassador also described booming people-to-people exchanges as a "solid anchor" in the two countries' relationship.

On China's input in the country's post-Ebola recovery program, Zhao noted that it was China that galvanized the international support for Sierra Leone in the peak of the Ebola crisis and gave the assurance that "China will firmly stand with Sierra Leone in its post Ebola era."

Zhao also noted that both countries have agreed to intensify cooperation in the five major fields of health care, mining, production capacity and agriculture and fishery.

He said Sierra Leone would stand to benefit from the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) summit held in South Africa in December last year when Chinese President Xi Jinping announced a 60 billion U.S. dollars funding to support China-Africa cooperation.

Currently, China funded or aided projects are already on the ground, he said, citing an example that the Shandong Iron and Steel Group has overcome many difficulties by taking over the African Minerals Ltd operations in Tonkolili district, and has helped to create revenue and jobs for average Sierra Leoneans.

In the health sector, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention has sent a team to facilitate the progress of the construction of the West African Tropical Disease Research and Treatment Center in Jui and an office building to house the Ministry of Health and Sanitation.

These moves will enhance the country's public health system and strengthen the capacity of prevention and control of various infections like zika and yellow fever, according to the ambassador.

Other projects supported by China like the Mamamah International Airport and the Freetown-Rokel river water supply project will also contribute to the country's post-Ebola recovery program, he added.

China and Sierra Leone established diplomatic relations on July 29, 1971.

Source: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

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