| 21 April 2024, Sunday |

China to boost pragmatic cooperation with Lebanon in various fields: ambassador

New Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Qian Minjian vowed to promote pragmatic cooperation between China and Lebanon in various fields by turning visions into tangible results, so as to bring more benefits to the two countries and their peoples.

“We look forward to working with friends from all walks of life in Lebanon to continue deepening our pragmatic cooperation,” Qian told Xinhua in a recent exclusive interview marking the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Lebanon.

Qian, who had been in Beirut as a diplomat 20 years ago, said since the establishment of diplomatic relationships in 1971, the China-Lebanon relations have developed steadily, with exchanges and cooperation becoming increasingly wider and closer in various fields.

“China and Lebanon are traditional friends, and China has long been providing Lebanon with humanitarian and development assistance within its capacity,” he noted.

Given the multiple crises and severe economic difficulties that Lebanon has suffered in recent years, the Chinese government has increased support for Lebanon, providing grants, materials and food aid through bilateral and multilateral channels.

Since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China and Lebanon have always maintained close cooperation in the fight against the virus, exchanging information and sharing experience in prevention, control, diagnosis and treatment of the infectious disease.

In 2020, China provided Lebanon with PCR testing reagents, large infrared thermometers, KN95 face masks and other anti-virus supplies to help the country combat the pandemic, according to the Chinese ambassador.

This year, the Chinese government donated two batches of the COVID-19 vaccine to Lebanon. Recently, the Chinese Red Cross donated additional doses of the vaccine to the Lebanese Red Cross, Qian said.

“China is very pleased to see the good progress made by Lebanon in the prevention and control of the contagious disease, and is informed of Lebanon’s recent threat of the Delta variant,” said the ambassador, noting China is ready to maintain close contact with Lebanon and provide needed support.

Following Beirut port’s blasts, the Chinese government provided the Lebanese government with 1 million U.S. dollars in cash for emergency humanitarian assistance, Qian said, adding the Chinese government is willing to encourage reputable Chinese companies to bid for the reconstruction projects of the port when the Lebanese government launches official tenders for the purpose.

Some Lebanese entrepreneurs have expressed their expectation to work with the Chinese partners in the port’s reconstruction, he told Xinhua.

Qian said some Chinese companies that are interested in investing in large-scale projects in Lebanon’s power, telecommunications, transportation, water conservancy and other infrastructure fields are exploring and surveying the Lebanese market.

With regard to economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, Qian said the overall economic and trade cooperation between China and Lebanon has remained stable in recent years.

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, China had been Lebanon’s largest trading partner for six consecutive years. The two governments and relevant industry associations have been actively promoting the export of Lebanese speciality products to China.

Moreover, the Chinese Embassy in Lebanon has been assisting Lebanese business communities in actively participating in trade exchange platforms such as the China International Import Expo, the China Import and Export Fair (Canton Fair), and China-Arab States Expo to expand the popularity of Lebanese speciality products in China.

“After years of hard work, the Lebanese olive oil, wine, handmade soap, chocolate and other speciality products have gradually become known to Chinese consumers,” Qian said.

Lebanon is a natural partner in the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) cooperation with China, Qian noted.

In 2017, the two governments formally signed a memorandum of understanding on jointly building the BRI. Successive Lebanese governments have voiced willingness to deepen pragmatic cooperation with China within the framework of the BRI.

The ambassador stressed that the Chinese side has always been pursuing the BRI cooperation with Lebanon on the basis of the principle of achieving shared benefits through extensive consultation and joint construction without any political strings attached.

The Chinese government-funded Lebanese National Higher Conservatory of Music is a large-scale iconic project in promoting the BRI cooperation and enhancing friendly ties between the two countries, Qian said.

To mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Lebanon, a variety of celebrations and events will be held by the Chinese embassy, he added.

In the first half of this year, the embassy successfully held the online New Year concert and children’s painting competition. A series of activities are scheduled to be followed, including the publication of a special issue commemorating the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, and Chinese songs and speech contests among the Lebanese students. —-Xinhua News Agency

  • NNA