CHINA has called on Basotho to unite and put the national interest first to overcome the political challenges the Mountain Kingdom is facing.
This was said by Chinese Ambassador, HU Dingxian, during a reception marking the 66th anniversary of the East Asian giant held at Avani Lesotho. The colourful event was attended by Acting Foreign Affairs and International Relations Minister Tsukulane Au, senior government officials and diplomats including United States Ambassador Mathew Harrington and his European Union counterpart Michael Doyle.
The People’s Republic of China was formally established on 1 October 1949 by then Communist Party Chairman, Mao Zedong, and set off on a path culminating in the formerly impoverished nation becoming the second largest economy in the world.
He said China was always ready to support African countries, including Lesotho.
“For decades, it has become a tradition for China and Africa to support and help each other, with sincere friendship and by treating each other on an equal footing,” said Ambassador Dingxian.
“China has closely integrated its development with that of the African countries, focusing on helping them increase capability for independent and sustainable development and making its due contribution to social and economic development of Africa.”
He said China-Africa cooperation was being upgraded from commodity import and export to industrial connection, cooperation on industrial capacity and technical transfer.
“China will focus on helping African Countries build three major development systems that the industrial system for independent and sustainable development, the food security system and the public health prevention and control system, and to help solve three major livelihood problems of food, employment and health,” Ambassador Dingxian said.
He lauded Basotho for the peaceful transfer of power following the 28 February 2015 general elections, which saw the seven-party coalition led by Prime Minister Pakalitha Mosisili coming into power.
“As (a) good brother, good friend and good partner, China was happy to see that Lesotho successfully held a peaceful, free and fair election and had a smooth transition of the Government, with the assistance and support of the regional and international communities, for which I would like once again to express our congratulations,” the ambassador said.
He, however, called on Basotho to put the nation’s interests first to ensure stability and economic development.
“At present, though, Lesotho is again facing a lot of difficulties and challenges, I sincerely hope all Basotho people will unite as one, put the overall national interests in the first place, and overcome the difficulties and challenges as early as possible so that they can put more time, energy and resources on social and economic development that are badly needy by the Basotho nation,” noted Ambassador Dingxian.
He paid tribute to the role played by the Southern African Development Community (SADC) in particular, and the international community in general, in efforts to restore Lesotho’s political stability.
“China appreciates the assistance and role played by SADC and other regional and international communities for helping Lesotho to restore peace and security and to solve the problems by African ways and approaches. China is ready to continue and enhance our mutually beneficial cooperation with Lesotho and strive for a win-win result and common development,” Ambassador Dingxian said.
In addition to the construction of the National Convention Centre, new State House, the diplomat said a China-Lesotho Friendship Middle School would soon be built.
He said: “Both sides are consulting with each other to renew the Action Plan for the Implementation of the China-Lesotho Cultural Agreement. More importantly, both sides have signed the agreement for setting up a Confucius Class Room at Machabeng College, where Chinese language will be taught in not long a future.”
Ambassador Dingxian also revealed that the Chinese government would soon send a technical team to Lesotho to provide assistance in agriculture and food security.
In his remarks, Mr Au, who is also Public Service minister, noted that China remained “a true friend of the whole continent of Africa”.
“She (China) plays an important role in Africa’s development under the framework of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation to advance Africa’s development,” he said.
“Through this mechanism, Lesotho has benefited immensely from China’s development assistance. In particular, the building of the new Parliament, refurbishment of ‘Manthabiseng Convention Centre and building of the State Library just to mention a few.”