The Inquirer (Monrovia)

Liberia: Chinese to Build Camp Tubman

Technical discussions that would lead to a common understanding between the governments of Liberia and the People's Republic of China for the reconstruction of the Tubman Military Camp situated in Gbarnga City, Bong County, has begun in Monrovia.

A high-power Chinese military delegation arrived in the country over the weekend for the discussions and to also assess the military facilities.

The delegation include SEN COL Tu Qiming, head of delegation and Director, West Asia and Africa Affairs, Bureau of Foreign Affairs Office of the PRC's Ministry of Defense, SEN COL Liu Shengli, Military Naval & Air attaché, Embassy of the People's Rebulic of China to Liberia, Major Du Canguo, Staff Officer, General Logistics Department of PLA, Captain XIE Liang, Staff Officer, Foreign Affairs office of the Ministry of Defense, PRC and Engineer XU Yanlin, China Xinxing Guangha Trade Limited Company.

According to reports, the refurbishing work to be carried out at the military camp will include the fencing of the barracks, installation of water and sanitation facilities, the initial building of residential quarters for enlisted personnel and officers, construction of a clinic, the installation of a 250-300 KVA generator, among others.

The total cost of the entire project will be finalized at the end of the technical discussions and the completion of the project will run for a two to three budget circle period beginning 2007.

Welcoming the Chinese delegation to the Ministry of National Defense, Defense Minister, Brownie J. Samukai, Jr. said he was very much delighted to have the delegation visiting the Ministry of Defense to participate in discussions that would lead to the rehabilitation of Camp Tubman.

He used the occasion to recount the warm hostility accorded him and his delegation during their recent visit to China, and also lauded SEN COL LIU for his hard work which the defense boss said is aimed at strengthening the cordial relationship between his ministry and that of the Ministry of Defense of China; adding "we are very pleased with the work of SEN COL LIU. He and our office are in daily contact, and he's doing everything possible to strengthen the relationship."

Mr. Samukai said Liberia would be very grateful to make use of any assistance especially for its military; noting that any assistance will be highly accepted by us as we do not impose on any body.

For his part, SEN COL Qiming extended greetings from his Minister of Defense to Mr. Samukai. He disclosed that he was instructed to come to Liberia to see how best China can become a help to Liberia to rebuild its military forces.

"Right now the Chinese Defense Ministry and military are very positive to the bilateral relations between our two countries. What we can do is to provide training courses for young officers at our military training academy. We have courses for staff training at mid and most senior levels for defense officials. We also have engineering courses," Col. Qiming said.

Following the discussion, the Defense Ministry boss said his ministry was delighted that the Chinese have accepted in principle the offer to rebuild Camp Tubman. "We are pleased with the discussion and intent and we will brief the Commander-In-Chief about the developments."

Since the resumption of diplomatic ties between Liberia and China, the Chinese Ministry of Defense has been very helpful to Liberia's ministry of Defense. In recent times, the Chinese provided some logistical support to the Ministry of Defense such as photocopy machines, fax machines, computers, television sets, vehicles, communication sets, etc.

Meanwhile, unconfirmed report reaching this paper says a coordinating mechanism will soon be put in place by the Defense Ministry of Liberia and the United States Embassy near this capital to oversee assistance coming from friendly countries for the military. Already several countries including Senegal, Ghana and Nigeria have committed themselves to provide both logistical and training support to the military.

When this paper contacted Minister Samukai on these developments, he remained tight-lipped on the issue. However, if this report is confirmed, it will go a long way to ease many flouting concerns about countries rendering assistance to Liberia's military; since indeed the coordinating mechanism will probably be spearheaded by the U.S. Embassy and the MOD.

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