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Chinese, Liberian Leaders Meet on Closer Ties
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Visiting President Hu Jintao and his Liberian counterpart Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf met in Monrovia on Thursday for talks on consolidating their friendship and cooperation between China and the West African state.


Soon after his arrival, Hu and Johnson-Sirleaf started their talks, during which they are expected to discuss the development of closer bilateral ties and exchange views on issues of common concern.


During his one-day stay in Monrovia, President Hu is expected to attend the inauguration of a malaria prevention and treatment center.


China announced at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation last November that over the next three years, it will build 30 hospitals in Africa and provide 300 million RMB (about US$38.5 million) in grants to provide artemisinin and build 30 malaria prevention and treatment centers to fight malaria in Africa.


President Hu is also expected to meet representatives of Chinese peacekeepers in the UN peacekeeping operation in Liberia.


Since 1990, China has sent 5,915 military personnel to participate in 16 UN peacekeeping operations, according to a white paper titled "China's National Defense in 2006" which was issued by the Information Office of China's State Council last December.


China has played a more active role in UN peacekeeping operations since 2003, sending peacekeeping forces to UN missions in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sudan.


In a written statement issued upon his arrival at the airport earlier in the day, President Hu said that in recent years, thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, China-Liberia relations have grown fast and the cooperation in various fields have resumed and yielded marked results.


"This is my first visit to Liberia. I am here to deepen the traditional friendship, enhance mutual understanding and trust and expand mutually beneficial and pragmatic cooperation to further develop China's relations with Liberia," he said.


President Hu, who arrived here from Yaounde, the capital of Cameroon, is on an eight-nation tour of Africa that will also take him to Sudan, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and Seychelles.


In Yaounde, the Chinese president held talks with Cameroon's President Paul Biya on Wednesday to exchange views on further developing China-Cameroon friendly relations of cooperation, and implementing the the measures taken at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).


The two sides signed a series of agreements covering inter-governmental economic and technological cooperation and China's write-off of debts owed by Cameroon.


China and Cameroon are willing to further strengthen mutual political trust and expand cooperation in various fields, according to a joint communiqué issued on Wednesday.


Earlier, the Chinese president described his Africa trip as "a journey of friendship and cooperation."


He said his current visit to Africa is aimed at consolidating the traditional friendship between China and Africa, implementing the agreements reached at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation last November, enlarging substantial cooperation and promoting common development.


(Xinhua News Agency February 2, 2007)

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