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Bilateral Relations
2020-11-30 23:00

I.Bilateral Political Relations

The People's Republic of China and the Republic of Liberia established diplomatic relations on February 17, 1977. On October 10, 1989, the Samuel Doe regime in Liberia "resumed diplomatic relations" with Taiwan authorities, and the Chinese side immediately announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Liberia. On August 10, 1993, China and Liberia resumed diplomatic ties. On September 5, 1997, the Charles Taylor regime announced its recognition of "two Chinas". On the 9th, China suspended diplomatic relations with Liberia. On October 11, 2003, China and Liberia Transitional Government signed a joint communique and memorandum of understanding on the resumption of diplomatic relations, and the two countries resumed diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level. On January 12, 2004, the Chinese Embassy in Liberia reopened. In August 2005, the Liberia National Transitional Legislative Assembly passed into law a resolution upholding One-China Policy which was reiterated by the 52nd legislature in October 2006.

Since the resumption of bilateral relations in October 2003, the Sino-Liberian friendly relations and cooperation have enjoyed sound and all-round growth. High-level exchanges have become frequent, political mutual trust has been continuously consolidated, and notable progress has been made in business ties as well as people-to-people, cultural and military exchanges between the two countries.

Senior Chinese officials who visited Liberia include:

--Vice Premier Tian Jiyun (December 1984),

--Vice Foreign Minister Tian Zengpei (August 1994),

--Assistant Foreign Minister Lv Guozeng (November 2003),

--Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing (January 2006, paid an official visit to Liberia and attended the inauguration ceremony of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf as the special envoy of President Hu Jintao),

--President Hu Jintao (February 2007, state visit),

--Vice Minister of Commerce Fu Ziying (2010),

--Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Wang Jiarui (2011),

--Minister of Human Resources and Social Security Yin Weimin, (January 2012, as the special envoy of President Hu Jintao to attend the re-election inauguration ceremony of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf),

--Deputy Director of the National Development and Reform Commission Zhang Xiaoqiang (2012),

--Ambassador Zhong Jianhua, Special Representative of the Chinese Government on African Affairs (October, 2013),

--Deputy Director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission Cui Li (November 2014, attended the launching ceremony of the China-aid Ebola Treatment Unit),

--Foreign Minister Wang Yi (August 2015),

--Director of the National Health and Family Planning Commission Li Bin (January 2018, visited Liberia and attended the inauguration ceremony of President George Manneh Weah as the special envoy of President Xi Jinping),

--Vice Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference Wan Gang (October 2018),

--Ambassador for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Zhou Yuxiao (July 2019),

--Vice Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Wu Weihua (November 2019).

Senior Liberian officials who visited China include:

--President William Tolbert (June 1978),

--Head of State Samuel Doe (May 1982),

--Vice Chairman of the Council of State Alhaji Kromah (1996),

--Foreign Minister Thomas Nimely (August 2004),

--Defense Minister Daniel Chea (2005),

--President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (2006 and November 2015, respectively visited China while attending the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and paid a state visit to China),

--Chairman of the ruling Unity Party Charles Clark (March 2006),

--Defense Minister Brownie Samukai (September 2006),

--Justice Minister Francis Morris (October 2006 ),

--President Pro-tempore of the Senate Isaac W. Nyenabo (November 2006),

--Vice President Joseph Boakai (2009 and August 2010, attended the Liberia National Pavilion Day at the Shanghai World Expo),

--Speaker of the House Alex J. Tyler (October 2010, attended the China Pavilion Day at the Shanghai World Expo),

--Foreign Minister Olubanke King Akerele (2010),

--Foreign Minister Toga G. McIntosh (2011),

--Foreign Minister Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan (July 2012, attended the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation),

--Finance Minister Amara Konneh (August 2013),

-- Minister of Health and Social Welfare Walter T. Gwenigale (August 2013, attended the Ministerial Forum on China-Africa Health Development),

--Minister without Portfolio Sylvester M. Grigsby (July 2016, attended the coordinator meeting of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation),

--Foreign Minister Marjon Kamara (November 2017, attended the 4th Wuzhen Internet Conference),

--First Lady Clar Marie Weah (May 2018, private visit),

--President George Manneh Weah (September 2018, attended the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation),

--Foreign Minister Gbehzohngar Milton Findley (June 2019, attended the meeting of coordinators to implement the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation),

--Minister of State for Presidential Affairs Nathaniel F. McGill (May2019, attended the second Forum on International Cooperation on "Belt and Road" held in Beijing and signed a Memorandum of Understanding on the "Belt and Road" initiative on behalf of the Liberian government),

--President Pro-tempore of the Senate Albert Tugbe Chie (July 2019).

With the sound development in Sino-Liberian relations, governments and peoples of both countries have come to a common understanding that sustained and stable bilateral relations are in the fundamental interests of both countries. In recent years, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Weah, the two countries have carried out all-sphere cooperation under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. "Belt and Road Initiative" has effectively docked with the "Pro-Poor Agenda for Prosperity and Development", and pragmatic cooperation in various fields has yielded fruitful results.

II.Bilateral economic and trade relations and economic and technical cooperation

The China-Liberia economic and trade cooperation has been growing since the resumption of bilateral cooperation in 2003 and the continuous peace-building in Liberia. In 2012, the Chinese Government offered 95% of the Liberian exports to China with duty-free treatment. In 2015, the Chinese Government offered 97% of the Liberian exports to China with duty-free treatment.

According to the statistics issued by the General Administration of Customs of China, the Chinese-Liberian trade volume in 2019 totaled US$4.03 billion, up 97% year-on-year, among which China's export to Liberia reached US$3.91 billion, a year-on-year increase of 99.6%, while its import from Liberia was US$0.12 billion, up 39.4% year-on-year. China has been encouraging all sectors in Liberia to expand its export to China by taking the advantages of China's offer of 97% of the Liberian exports to China with duty-free treatment as well as various economic and trade promotion activities in China including the China International Import Expo(CIIE), the Canton Fair, and the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo.

According to the statistics from the Ministry of Commerce of China, the Foreign Direct Investment flowing from China to Liberia reached US$26.44 million in 2019. From January to December 2019, the value of China's newly signed project contracts in Liberia was US$300 million, a year-on-year increase of 138.7%, and the completed turnover was US$440 million, a year-on-year increase of 123.5%.

The Chinese enterprises and investors have been engaged in various investment and trade activities in Liberia covering many sectors, including mining development, infrastructure construction, pelagic fishery, forestry, industrial explosive services, telecommunication, logistics services, small commodity trade, so on and so forth.

Since China and Liberia established diplomatic ties, the Chinese government has aided Liberia by funding and implementing the construction of the Barreke Sugar Mill, the SKD Sports Complex and its renovation project, the renovation project of Liberia Broadcasting System, the Tappita hospital (Jackson F. Doe Memorial Regional Referral Hospital), the office building of the Ministry of Health, 3 rural middle schools, the agricultural technology demonstration center in Bong county, the Monrovia Vocational Training Center, the Fendell campus of the University of Liberia, Ebola Treatment Unit (ETU), Anti-malaria laboratory in JFK medical center, 50 bored wells in rural areas, two annexes to the Capitol Building, the Ministerial Complex, the new terminal of Roberts International Airport (concessional loan), etc. Besides, the Chinese government has provided vehicles and thousand tons of humanitarian aid rice to the Liberia government. Moreover, the Chinese government has also conducted various technical assistance in Liberia such as the bamboo and rattan weaving and vegetable plantation technical cooperation project, the Liberia Broadcasting System technical cooperation project, the agriculture technical cooperation project, the SKD Sports Complex technical cooperation project, and the mineral resources prospecting technical cooperation project and trained more than 2500 Liberian youth in areas of agriculture, broadcasting, mineral resource prospecting, facility maintenance and so forth.

III.Bilateral exchanges and cooperation in culture, youth, education and health

Since 2007, the following Chinese cultural groups have visited and performed in Liberia: China Art Group (2007), Chinese Martial Arts Center Delegation (December 2009), Beijing Jiaotong University Student Art Troupe (February 2011) , Xiamen University Student Art Troupe (February 2012), Zhejiang International Studies University Art Troupe (February 2016), Hunan University of Traditional Chinese Medicine Art Troupe (November 2018).

In September 2008, the Liberian cultural delegation went to Shenzhen to participate in the "2008 African Culture Focus". In August 2010, the Liberian National Art Troupe went to China to participate in the Liberia National Pavilion Day at the Shanghai World Expo. In October 2010, the Liberian Youth Olympic delegation visited China, and the Liberian Martial Arts Association delegation went to China to participate in the Martial Arts Festival.

Under the framework of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the Chinese Government has been strengthening its cooperation with Liberia in human resources development. Since 2003, more than 1600 young Liberian scholars, officials, farmers, technicians and people from all walks of life attended and benefited from the short-term training courses in China.

China began accepting Liberian scholarship international students in 1986. Hundreds of Liberian students received full scholarships from the Chinese government and studied in China. Some of these graduates have become pioneers and leaders in all walks of life in Liberia, and have contributed to the economic and social development of Liberia. In 2019, there were 1,423 Liberia students studying in China.

In September 2008, China established and opened its Confucius Institute at the University of Liberia. In April 2017, the Confucius Institute at the University of Liberia officially opened its Chinese-teaching classes in some Liberian primary and secondary schools.

Since July 1984, China has sent 13 batches of medical teams to Liberia with a total of 132 person-times to provide medical and health services to the people of Liberia. When the Ebola epidemic broke out in Liberia in 2014, the Chinese government provided four rounds of humanitarian assistance such as anti-epidemic supplies, food, and cash to Liberia, dispatched public health experts to train local medical staff, and built an Ebola treatment center in Liberia. Hundreds of medical staff were also dispatched to participate in the management and operation of the center. In May 2015, after the WHO announced the end of the Eebola epidemic in Liberia, China handed over the treatment center to Liberia. When the Covid-19 epidemic hit Liberia in 2020, the Chinese government took the lead to provide emergency medical supplies to Liberia in three batches, has commenced the paired-hospital cooperation with the JFK Hospital and is engaging the second round aid of food and nutrition for Liberia.

IV.Chinese Peacekeeping in Liberia

China has joined the United Nations peacekeeping operations in Liberia since December 2003 by sending its transport, engineering and medical units, civilian police, military observers and staff officers. From 2003 to 2017, the Chinese military has sent 19 successive peacekeeping units to Liberia, with a total of 10,297 officers and soldiers participating in peacekeeping operations. On March 1, 2017, the 99 members of the 19th Chinese peacekeeping units to Liberia withdrew, marking the official end of the peacekeeping mission entrusted by the United Nations.

During the mission, the Chinese engineering detachment surveyed and repaired 7,500 kilometers of roads, and set up and maintained 69 bridges. The transport detachments covered a total of 13 million kilometers, transporting 930,000 tons of goods and materials. The medical team received and treated more than 50,000 patients. The Chinese peacekeepers have made important contributions to the work of UNMIL and the peace in Liberia.

Farid Zarif, special representative of the UN Secretary-General, said that the Chinese peacekeeping force is a model for all peacekeepers in Liberia. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, the then President of Liberia, said the Chinese peacekeepers were a very hard-working professional team with strict discipline, which not only brought peace and security to the Liberian people, but also helped to consolidate the long-term stability of Liberia.

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