LAW, Constitutional Affairs and Human Rights Minister, Motlalentoa Letsosa has said the country’s positive strides in uplifting the lives of Basotho would not have been possible without assistance from China.
Mr Letsosa made the remarks during China’s 67th anniversary celebrations in Maseru yesterday. He said Lesotho was certain that China would maintain its growing international influence that had given it a prominent voice in the global affairs.
China has the second largest gross domestic product (GDP) after the United States, accounting for 15.5 percent of the world’s total GDP.
“The strides that we have made in our bilateral relations would not have been possible without the support, assistance and involvement of the Chinese government, Chinese community living in Lesotho and friends from all walks of life,” Mr Letsosa said.
He thanked the Chinese government for injecting M4, 122, 741.64 million into Lesotho’s independence golden jubilee celebrations slated for October 4.
He said the donation was a clear indication of a deep friendship between the two countries.
“It would be remiss of me, if I concluded my remarks, without strongly reaffirming Lesotho’s support for the “One China-Policy” through which we remain optimistic that one day Chinese people will realise complete reunification of their territories.
“We hope that the increasing tensions in the South China Sea will be resolved through peaceful dialogue, bearing in mind the principles of territorial sovereignty and integrity,” Mr Letsosa said.
He said Lesotho was confident that China remained on course to attain greater heights and realise its long cherished dream of greater national renewal.
“For the next 67 years, we encourage you to remember the path that you took to get where you are today. We are confident that you will shun actions that will erode the economic and political gains that you have made thus far,” Mr Letsosa said.
He said the anniversary celebration was relevant to Lesotho as it came at an opportune time when bilateral relations between the two countries had been elevated to the highest level.
He also said China had firmly established itself as one of Lesotho’s major development partners.
“The two sister countries share close solidarity, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other’s internal affairs.”
“The two countries have so far enjoyed cooperation in different sectors such as agriculture, infrastructure development, capacity building, tourism, culture, health and defense,” he said.
For his part, China Ambassador Sun Xianghua said his country had undergone monumental changes and achievements over the past 67 years including ending the scourge of a hundred years of wars and poverty to usher in a new era of development.
“Today, China’s GDP is 15.5 percent of the world’s total, making it the second biggest economy in the world, while 40 years ago, China’s GDP was only 2.3 percent of the world’s total,” Mr Xianghua said.
“Currently, the world’s economy is still experiencing a sluggish recovery and China’s economic development has entered the stage of the New Normal,” he added.
He said in the face of new challenges, China had adopted a holistic approach which championed innovation, coordination, and green, open and inclusive development.
He said in the first half of this year alone China’s economic growth rate was set at 6.7 percent making it one of the fastest growing economies in the world.
He said Lesotho was a very important partner and friend of China in Africa.
“Though separated by vast seas and numerous countries, the two countries started friendly exchange decades ago, even before the independence of Lesotho.
“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Lesotho. At this auspicious moment, when we look back on the friendly relations between our two countries and peoples, we are so proud to see the endless list of concrete results of cooperation and exchanges between us,” he said.
He said 25 Chinese Art Troupe performers will come to Lesotho to join in celebrating 50 years of independence.
“I will officially hand over another M4 million from the Chinese government to the Lesotho government in support of its independence celebration activities,” he said.