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Ambassador Sun Xianghua Interviewed by Mainstream Media of Lesotho

On 14th June, Ambassador Sun Xianghua was interviewed by the Public Eye journalist on issues like China's foreign policy to Lesotho, bilateral relations and practical cooperation, implementation on the FOCAC summit results, etc. The interview was published on 17th June edition of Public Eye as follows:


Since it opened its trade doors to the world, the economy of the People's Republic of China has grown rapidly and currently stands second in the world.

Believing in rotational reforms and ever changing structures, China now has relations with different countries, especially in Africa and assists towards their development.

Lesotho is not an island in that regard, in fact the Mountain Kingdom has started contacts with China from as early as before the independence of the Kingdom.

In this wide-ranging interview, Public Eye (PE) journalist, Lerato Matheka speaks with the incoming Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, Mr Sun Xianghua (SX) about new policies he is bringing with him into office and the benefits on offer to Lesotho.

PE: What is China's current foreign policy in respect of Lesotho?

SX: China's policy to foreign countries is a very important issue; our foreign policy out of our historical experiences is called independent foreign policy of peace, where we strongly advocate none interference in foreign countries' internal affairs.

With regard to Africa, we say our relations with African countries are the foundation and cornerstone of our foreign policy.

This special relationship was forged by our joint efforts in fighting colonialism and foreign aggressions, maintaining national independence and sovereignty, and realising national development and prosperity. For this reason, in China, we call African countries our sincere friends, close partners and brothers. Mutual respect and trust, equality and win-win cooperation have become the main features of the China-Africa relations.

These features are fully shown and reflected in China's foreign policy towards Lesotho. Ever since the two countries established diplomatic ties, China has always fully respected Lesotho's sovereignty and dignity, while tirelessly supporting its efforts in maintaining social stability, developing economy and improving its people's livelihood, unreservedly rendering whatever assistance and support in its capacity. I must say that China's foreign policy to Lesotho is quiet consistent and clear. No matter how the world's landscape changes or China further develops, the main features of China's foreign policy to Lesotho will never change.

PE: What are your views on the current bilateral relations between the two countries?

SX: I shall proudly say that China-Lesotho relations at present are at their best. The two countries have established unshakable political mutual trust, maintained close and comprehensive cooperation in all fields; carried out frequent and cordial people to people exchanges and enjoyed concerted coordination on international affairs.

PE: How are you planning to strengthen the existing relations between Lesotho and China?

SX: As the 10th Chinese Ambassador to Lesotho, I have come to Lesotho at an opportune time. China, since its reform and opening up, has made rapid progress and has become the second biggest economy in the world. 

With its economic structural reforms and upgrading its industries, China is in a better position to provide its African partners and other developing countries with a wider range of support, including infrastructure, science and technology, finance and professional talents. Infrastructure, capital and technological know-how are the main bottleneck withholding its further development.

China's capability and Lesotho's needs have never been as mutually complementary as they are now. Blessed by our own two countries' mutual trust and cordial relations, the two countries can further deepen economic cooperation and bring tangible benefits to their peoples.

Political relations and people to people exchange, as important guidance and catalyst for bilateral relations, also need to be strengthened. These are the main areas in which I will exert my best efforts.

PE: How best can the two countries benefit from each other's cooperation?

SX: I think the most important thing is to consolidate the two countries' political mutual trust and mutual respect, only on which true and lasting cooperation are established.

Synergies, collaboration and joint efforts are also required to optimise our relative advantages and potentials and mutual understanding is fundamental to overcome any obstacles and difficulties lying ahead.

Both China and Lesotho need to fully understand each other's national conditions, with their culture, customs and traditions, which is why China has been attaching great importance to enhancing the people to people exchange between the two countries.

PE: Can you please elaborate more on the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)

SX: The Johannesburg Summit was the second of the FOCAC and the first to be held in Africa co-chaired by H.E. President Xi Jinping of China and President Zuma of South Africa. The main outcomes of the summit can be summarised as 1+5+10.

One means the China-Africa New type strategic Partnership is upgraded to the China-African Comprehensive and Cooperative Strategic Partnership.

Five means the five pillars of this partnership, namely, Political equality and mutual trust, economic cooperation for win-win results, exchanges and mutual learning between Chinese and African civilizations, mutual assistance in security affairs, and solidarity  and cooperation in international affairs.

Ten means the cooperation areas that cover industrialisation, agricultural modernisation, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people to people exchanges and security.

President Xi announced at the summit that China would offer US$60 billion of funding support, US$5 billion of which will be free aid and interest-free loans. US$35 billion will be for preferential loans and export credit on more favourable terms while the US$ 20 billion will be additional capital for the China-Africa development fund and special loan for the development of African Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises each, and China-Africa production capacity cooperation. The focus of the above mentioned plan is to break the three main bottlenecks constraining Africa's development, namely the backward infrastructure, talent shortage and inadequate fund, accelerate industrialisation and agricultural modernisation and realise independent sustainable development. 

PE: How will Lesotho benefit?

SX: Lesotho can benefit from the outcomes of the summit in many ways. As a matter of fact, the above three said bottlenecks are the root cause of the difficult situation in Lesotho's development. Cooperative measures adopted in these areas will play a very positive and long term role in alleviating the huge challenges of employment, food security and public health.

PE: What type of projects has Lesotho shown interest in developing as a response to the US$60 billion, which was pledged by China?

SX: Lesotho government attaches great importance to seize the opportunity of implementing the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit. By now we have received a dozen project proposals covering a wide range of areas like infrastructure, agriculture, public health, green development and education among others.

PE: How are you as the incoming ambassador planning to help Lesotho choose the correct project and implementing it?

SX: Lesotho's proposals are so many and involve quite a number of different areas, so, we at the Chinese Embassy are working closely and smoothly with the relevant ministries of the Lesotho government.

Urgency, Feasibility, direct and indirect benefits for the Basotho People and sustainability are important factors that we need to establish to report to the relevant ministries of the Chinese government. Though I am new, the Chinese Embassy has been working on similar proposals for some time.

PE: China as the biggest developing country has achieved a lot since its reform, what are your plans to help Lesotho achieve what China has achieved, especially in different areas including politics, social development and economic growth?

SX: Since the foundation of the People's Republic of China, especially the reform and opening-up in the late 70s, China has made laudable achievements in national development. It is not an exaggeration to say China has created a miracle of development.

This accomplishment must be attributed to the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China, the solidarity and unity of the Chinese people, to the persistent structural and mechanism reforms and the opening-up policy to the outside world.

In one phrase; it is because China has found a development path that suits its national conditions. Meanwhile, we are fully aware that China's development is not well balanced between the rural and urban areas; we still have a large number of people living under poverty line, so it still is a developing countries.

China's foreign policy decides that its achievements can be of assistance to Lesotho mainly in two ways: one is through its sincere and mutual beneficial cooperation and the other is through in-depth exchange on national development with Lesotho and her people.

I do not think any country can solve all its problems and achieve all successes simply by coping other countries' practices that is why China always advocates that every country's own choice of development path must be fully respected. 

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