By Fredrick P. W. Gaye, Monrovia, Liberia
As Liberia prepares for presidential and representative polls on October 10, politicians have been warned not to reverse the “One-China” Policy.
Civil Servant Association’s President, Mr. Moibah Keller Johnson, reiterated the warning on August 22, during a symposium at the farewell reception for 2017/2018 Chinese government scholarship students and trainees hosted by the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia.
“Let it be made clear to all presidential candidates in the 2017 elections, that reversal the One China Policy is not an option,” Johnson sounded.
Johnson, also a product of the China’s bilateral scholarship and former president of the Liberian Association of Chinese-Trained Scholars (LACTS), reminded politicians that the policy is the diplomatic acknowledgment of China’s position that there is only one government for all Chinese people.
Under the policy, Johnson indicated that Liberia recognizes and has formal ties with the People’s Republic of China.
“In fact, in adherence to this policy, the 52nd Legislature passed Resolution No. 001 confirming and reaffirming Liberia’s unwavering commitment to the One China Policy,” he said.
The Civil Servant Association President informed Liberians that, as the country transitions in January 2018, “our collective urge is for the continuous adherence to the policy”.
Johnson said the mutual relationship between Liberia and China is positively impacting Liberia. He named the ongoing construction of the Ministerial Complex, Roberts International Airport, annexes of the Capitol Building as some of the many interventions by the Chinese Government.
Besides, Johnson noted that Liberia and China have begun appreciating each other’s cultures, adding, “To this end, thousands of Liberians that have been trained as professionals in China are currently contributing their quota in the rebuilding of Liberia in all spheres of national life.”
He further recognized the introduction of Chinese Language teaching at the University of Liberia and warm reception by Liberians as an indication of the country’s overwhelming desire for Chinese culture.
Johnson then admonished the 2017/2018 Chinese scholarship beneficiaries to remain commitment in their educational sojourn in China. Sharing his China’s experience, he told the beneficiaries to pursuit academic excellence and at the same time maintain the image of Liberia at all times.
He used the occasion to commend the Chinese government, through its Embassy, for the immense contributions towards rebuilding Liberia.
On his part, the Charge d’Affaires Ad Interim at the Chinese Embassy, Mr. Li Zhuang, the comprehensive cooperative partnership between his country and Liberia is developing both in scope and in depth with encouraging momentum.
Li said China has put education as one of the priorities in the China-Liberia cooperation. In this direction, he said, China has provided modern infrastructure, such as Fendell Campus of the University of Liberia, laboratories at the University of Liberia, three primary schools in Montserrado and Bomi Counties as well as the extension of the Monrovia Vocational Training Center (MVTC).
Since the resumption of the diplomatic ties between China and Liberia in 2003, Li recounted that his country has provided more than 400 government scholarships to Liberian students for undergraduate, masters and doctorate degrees and trained over 3000 Liberian personnel in various sectors in China.
“In 2017, China provided 27 slots of Chinese Government Scholarship, 16 slots of one-year Master Scholarship and about 200 training opportunities for Liberian students, professionals and military officials,” he stated.
By direct contacts with Chinese universities, Li revealed that several students have successfully obtained Chinese Government special scholarship; six Confucius Institute students have obtained the Confucius Institute Scholarship and 16 students of the University of Liberia Confucius Institute are expected to go to China for summer vocation camp this September.
Li encouraged the 2017/2018 scholarship beneficiaries to overcome difficulties they may encounter in China and embrace the new environment with courage and open-mindedness. He reminded that they may come across a series of challenges such as language barriers and cultural differences.
Also gracing the occasion were government officials, officials and members of the Liberian Association of Chinese-Trained Scholars (LACTS) as well as the 2017/2018 Chinese Government Scholarship beneficiaries with their relatives, friends and workmates. Deputy Education Minister, Mr. Aagon Tingba, Deputy Agriculture Minister and representative of the scholarship beneficiaries, Mr. Thomas Gbokie, Assistant Defense Minister for Public Affairs and Mr. David Dahn, Assistant Foreign Affairs Minister, Emmanuel Munyeneh, made remarks outlining China’s contributions to Liberia. They also advised beneficiaries to take their studies serious if they must their scholarly status. The government officials then commended China for the efforts and reaffirmed Liberia’s commitment strengthening the country’s ties with China.
LACTS’ President, Mr. Clifton Garpeh and other panelists shared their experiences during the symposium, aimed at enlightening the scholarship beneficiaries who are leaving for China.