AN ACCEPTANCE SPEECH AT THE CONFERRAL OF HONORARY PARAMOUNT CHIEF OF PANTA DISTRICT,FORMER PANTA CHIEFDOM,BONG COUNTY ON HIS EXCELLENCY MR. ZHOU YUXIAO, AMBASSADOR EXTRAORDINARY AND PLENIPOTENTIARY OF THE PEOPLE'S REPUBLIC OF CHINA
DECEMBER 7, 2010
Honorable Paramount Chief Moses Galakrumah
Honorable Chief Elder Togba Gbonpelee Dolo
Honorable Commissioner Wellington Belepu
Honorable Senior Senator Jewel Howard Taylor
Honorable local officials
Citizens of Panta District
Ladies and gentlemen
Kauonaa (good morning) everybody. It is very hot today isn’t it? But I can feel that the warmth of friendship is hotter than the weather. The atmosphere here today truly depicts the warm and friendly relations between China and Liberia.
It is my singular honor and privilege to be conferred Honorary Paramount Chief of Panta District, Bong County. As you may know, I have been named as the “Diplomat of the Year” on number occasions. Those awards did grace me, but they also kept telling me that you are a foreigner or you are an outsider. But this one is different, it makes me an insider. Being an Honorary Paramount Chief, I can proudly say that I am now a member of the Panta District community, Bong Country, Republic of Liberia. I am deeply moved and touched by this sentiment of closeness and inclusiveness. What makes this conferral even more special is the fact that this highest distinction was only conferred upon a foreigner for the second time in the history of Panta Chiefdom. Traditional leaders, officials and citizens of the Panta District, I wish to say sincerely that you are “gugu people” and I “thank you plenty” for your trust, respect and sincerity.
I am very excited about this unique honor, but I am not carried away by it as know full well that I am given this honor not so much for my personal contribution, but for the contribution made by China towards Liberia’s postwar reconstruction. Therefore, I am accepting this honor on behalf of my government and people.
This conferral tells me that Liberians are grateful people. What China has done for Liberia is humble and limited, but the recognition and appreciation from the Liberian side is serious and profound. This is a clear indication of the level civilization existing in the culture of the former Panta Chiefdom. You have won my respect and admiration.
China and Liberia relations, which are characterized by equality, mutual trust, mutual respect and common prosperity, have been expending in depth and width in the last few years. We have been carrying out fruitful cooperation in almost every field, such as education, health, agriculture, security, trade, investment, infrastructural building and etc.
Since my arrival in Liberia, I have witnessed the dedication of 6 major projects with China’s involvement. Three of them are in Bong County, namely the Tubman Army Barracks in Bharnga, the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Center at Cari and the rubber processing plant in Salala. The 2.6 billion US dollar mining project, the biggest investment China has ever made in Liberia is also located in Bong County. All these showed that the Chinese and Liberian governments pay special attention to the reconstruction and development of this County. We are very proud to be part of your endeavor for renewal and rejuvenation. I wish to congratulate you on the marked and visible progress you are making in the Bong County.
In my eyes, Liberia is a very rich country with huge potentials. It enjoys plenty of Land, rainfall and sunshine which are essential ingredients for agriculture. It produces large quantity of rubber that can be made into strategic products. It has enormous mineral deposits which can be exploited for national development and export. It possesses huge timer resources which can be turned into houses, furniture, bridges and etc. It has a long coast which can be developed into shipping and fishing industries.
On top of these God-given advantages, you also enjoy many man-made advantages. In today’s Liberia, peace has been maintained, democratic system has been established, freedom of speech has been ensured, foreign debt has been cancelled and foreign aid and investment have been attracted in huge quantity. Liberia’s international environment has been markedly improved. As a friend of Liberia, I envisage a very bright future for Liberia. My prediction is that there will be an economic boom in Liberia in the coming decade if the Liberian people can put national interest above their personal and tribal interest and march forward with shared purposes. As your national anthem says: “In union strong success is sure”.
Off course, the road ahead is not going to be plainsaling. It is going to be an uphill journey where you need to redouble your efforts to move Liberia from dependence to self-sufficiency. But you are not alone. China which will continue to stand behind you steadfastly and will be your willing partner in progress. In my dual capacity as the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia and the Honorary Paramount Chief Panta District, I shall do my own share. To show my gratitude and support, I wish to donate a few items to the Panta community.Ka-seh, ka-ma-ma (Thank you all).