By Awa Gassama
Presiding over celebrations marking the 74th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, Ambassador Liu Jin on Wednesday disclosed that no matter how the international landscape may evolve, China-Africa friendship, in particular Sino-Gambian ties, will remain rock solid.
He made this statement to an assemblage of dignitaries including ministers, diplomats and senior government officials and the media at the Coco Ocean Resort.
“No matter how far China develops, it will always be a natural member of developing countries, and will always stand with its global south brothers, including Africa because strengthening solidarity and cooperation with African countries has always been a priority for China’s diplomacy,” he highlighted.
He also stated that China and The Gambia are good friends and partners and they respect each other, understand each other, support each other, help each other, and appreciate each other. “The Chinese government highly values the China-Gambia friendship and attaches great importance to its relations with The Gambia. Since the resumption of diplomatic relations between our two countries, political mutual trust has been deepening, practical cooperation has been fruitful, and people-to-people exchanges have been expanding,” he said.
He expounded on China’s contribution to The Gambia’s infrastructural development notably the URR Roads and Bridges project and the International Conference Centre as solid symbols of friendship.
In particular, he said ICC has become the preferred venue for The Gambia to hold major events, and wished The Gambia a successful hosting of the OIC Summit this December.
Ambassador Liu Jin noted that they are working with their Gambian colleagues to push forward the Greater Banjul Area Electricity Improvement Project.
“This year marks the 60th anniversary of China dispatching its first medical team abroad and China and The Gambia have recently signed the Protocol on Dispatching China Medical Team to work in The Gambia (2023-2027). In the past seven years, China has sent six consecutive batches of medical teams to The Gambia,” he noted.
The ambassador reported that the first phase of the China Agriculture Technical Assistant project has made substantial progress with Chinese agricultural experts producing two high-yield hybrid rice varieties certified by the Gambian NSS and training more than 1,500 Gambian agricultural technicians and farmers. “We expect the second phase which lasts another three years will achieve more,” Ambassador Lui Jin said.
He also revealed that people-to-people exchanges between China and The Gambia have fully resumed this year, with more than 300 Gambians from all walks of life invited to China, nearly 40 Chinese government scholarships provided, and all Gambian students who hold such scholarships have returned to China to resume their studies. China and The Gambia also signed a memorandum of understanding on cooperation in vocational education, which becomes a new highlight of people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.
Works minister Ebrima Sillah, deputising for the foreign minister, expressed the pleasure of President Barrow and the Gambian people in celebrating the national day of China and acknowledged the unwavering support and benevolence of China towards The Gambia.
He reiterated the commitment of the government to safely guide the partnership and cooperation that encompasses all areas of the development, for the mutual benefit of the two countries.