The Defense Attaché to the Chinese Embassy in Liberia, Senior Colonel Zhang Gan, says the China-Liberia military relations has been growing in recent years and his country will continue to strengthen the friendship in taking the Armed Forces of Liberia (AFL) to a higher level.
Col. Zhang recalls that the National Defense of China has been providing AFL with some necessary assistance such as training, personnel engineering technique training and logistic support.
The Chinese Defense Attaché spoke Friday, July 28, 2017, during a reception in observance of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) 90th Anniversary, held at the Chinese Embassy in Monrovia.
"In the future, we wish to further strengthen this good relationship."
"We will try to help AFL with its overall development by providing more support and assistance, we will continue to expand cooperation areas, innovative cooperation modalities and deepen cooperative level in order to elevate the bilateral military relationship to a higher level," he assured.
According to him, while PLA is getting stronger, China continues to pursue an independent foreign policy of peace and a national defense policy that is purely defensive in nature. Col. Zhang added that the Chinese military has always been a staunch force upholding world peace and regional stability.
China supports UN peacekeeping operations, it tops the other permanent members of the UN Security Council in the number of peacekeepers it has contributed and ranks the second on the list of fund-contributing countries for UN peacekeeping operations," he reveals.
Col. Zhang further explained that, from December 2003 to March 2017, a total of 10,297 Chinese peacekeepers had been dispatched to Liberia. Out of this number, Col. Zhang said 10,168 troops were in organic units and 129 military observers of staff officers.
"In the past 13 years, the Chinese peacekeeping engineer detachments had completed the road survey and repair of 7,500 kilometers, construction and maintenance of 69 bridges.
"The transport detachments had transported 930,000-ton material of various kinds with an accumulated traveling distance of 13 million kilometers."
The Chinese Defense Attaché maintained that the medical detachments had treated patients for more than 50,000 cases.
Col. Zhang used the occasion to disclose the current deployment of China's Fifth FPU in Liberia, assuring Liberians of its cooperation with the local security in meeting future challenges.
At the same time, Col. Zhang said, fulfilling the commitment made by President Xi Jinping at the UN Peacekeeping Summit in September 2015, the Chinese military has been steadily pushing forward construction of the 8000-member Chinese peacekeeping standby force, trained nearly 700 peacekeepers from various countries and dispatched its first peacekeeping helicopter detachment to Sudan.
According to him, in the past nine decades, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), the PLA has made great and historical contribution to the Chinese people's liberation, socialist construction and reform, safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests, maintaining world peace and stability.
Col. Zhang then thanked officials and members of the Liberia's security and other sectors for gracing the occasion.
Also speaking at the reception, Liberia's Defense Minister, Brownie Samukai, on behalf of his country, congratulated the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) on its 90th Anniversary and applauded its immense contribution to Liberia since the inception of the current administration.
"The historical path of the PLA has now blossomed into a contributor of international peace, and humanitarian undertakings. We extend our heartfelt felicitations and appreciation for all the PLA has done for Liberia especially since the inception of this administration," Minister Samukai said.
He recounted the professionalism Defense Attaches from PLA have been demonstrating in Liberia, through whom he said their country has greatly contributed to the growth, reform and professional development of the AFL and civilian staff and the Defense Ministry.
In continuation of its assistance to Liberia, Minister Samukai revealed that, recently, the People's Republic of China provided on a gratis, 20 million RMB to the AFL for the provision of non-lethal materials, medical equipment and supplies and spare parts for the engineering equipment already provided to the AFL.
He then extended special thanks to China, through Ambassador Zhang Yue and Col. Gan, recognizing cordial relations with the envoys.
The Liberia's Defense Minister, who said it might be his last remark at such occasion as Defense Minister, reaffirmed his country commitment to strengthening ties with China. He also told the PLA to always assist Liberia as it has been doing in the past.