Present at the occasion were the Vice President Victor Bockarie Foh, the Sierra Leone Deputy Ambassador to China, Kumba Momoh, members of the diplomatic corps, a cross-section of the press, staff of the Chinese Embassy and other distinguished personalities.
In his brief but captivating address to a jam-packed hall, Ambassador Wu Peng reiterated that the Chinese Spring Festival is also known as the Chinese Lunar New Year.
He said: “Normally, the Spring Festival is a time to review the past year and make wishes for the New Year. The year of 2017 had been an outstanding and impressive year for the Chinese people. It witnessed the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), which marked a new era in socialism with Chinese characters. At this Congress, a general goal was set for China’s diplomacy – to foster a new type of international relations and to build a community with a shared future for mankind and China’s commitment to working with other countries for a bright future was fully demonstrated.”
According to Ambassador Wu Peng, the GDP growth rate of China reached 6.9%. China contributed approximately one third of the global economic growth and continued to play the role of an indispensable booster of world economy.
He added that: “China has also made great efforts to steer globalization in the right direction. On various occasions from Davos to Geneva, and from Hamburg to Da Nang, President Xi Jinping presented to the world China’s vision of greater balance in economic globalization and of a community with a shared future for mankind, which marks instilled confidence and positive energy into the international community.”
He went on to state that the China-Sierra Leone friendship and cooperation has made great progress in the past year. “To implement outcomes of the meeting between our two head of states, a number of important cooperation projects have been launched. The Strategic Partnership of Comprehensive Cooperation of our two friendly countries has been promoted to a new height,” he told his audience.
He stated that: “Next month, Sierra Leone will hold general elections. I am confident that the Sierra Leone people have the capacity and wisdom to conduct a peaceful and fair election. Here, I want to reiterate that, China’s support for Sierra Leone’s peace and development will never change. The resolve of China to pursue unity and win-win cooperation with Sierra Leone will never change.”
He went on to say: “The year 2018 marks the 40th anniversary of China’s reform and opening-up policy. In this November, China will hold the 1st China International Import Expo (CHE) in Shangai. It is a significant move for the Chinese government to give firm support to trade liberalization and economic globalization and actively open the Chinese market to the world. We sincerely welcome Sierra Leone Government officials and business communities to participate in this Expo and to explore the Chinese market, and export more goods made in Sierra Leone to China.”
He went on to state that: “This September, a new Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit will be held in Beijing. The Chinese and African leaders will draw the new blueprint of cooperative development and open a new era of win-win cooperation and common development for the two sides. I firmly believe, after that, more and more opportunities and space will lie ahead between China and Sierra Leone, and our relations will surely bring along more tangible benefits to our two peoples.”
Speaking on behalf of the Sierra Leone Government was the Minister of State I, Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Mr. Gibril Sesay. He said among other things that Sierra Leone has always cherished the friendship it shares with China and that President Ernest Bai and Koroma and the people of Sierra Leone are very grateful. He appealed to the Chinese Government for more assistance in education, health and trade, adding that the bond between the two states will grow from strength to strength.
Several other speakers were Mr. SHI Zengwei Chairperson Chinese Chamber of Commerce in Sierra Leone; Mr. LI Luming chairperson Sierra Leone Chinese Chamber of Commerce among other speakers.
Music and art performances were done by the Beijing Opera, the Ballanta Academy and the Human Huagu Opera comprising of the Chinese medical team.