BEIJING, May 7 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping said Friday that China is willing to strengthen cooperation with and provide support and assistance for Sierra Leone in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.
Xi made the remarks during a telephone conversation with Sierra Leonean President Julius Maada Bio.
Noting that this year marks the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between China and Sierra Leone, Xi pointed out that over the half century, no matter how the international situation changes, the two countries have always supported each other on issues related to their respective core interests and major concerns, and have always stood firmly together at critical moments in the face of such major infectious diseases as Ebola and COVID-19.
The two sides, he added, have always maintained a high level of political mutual trust and are good brothers and good friends.
Chinese medical teams, expert teams, anti-epidemic supplies and vaccines have played a positive role in Sierra Leone's epidemic prevention and control, he said.
Stressing that this year is important to the two countries, their parties and their relations, Xi suggested that the two sides join hands to hold 50th-anniversary celebrations, carry forward their traditional friendship, expand mutually beneficial cooperation and promote common development.
China will continue to provide as much support and assistance as its capacity allows for Sierra Leone's national economic development, he said, adding that as the world is undergoing transformations rarely seen in a century, the two sides should strengthen unity and cooperation, firmly support each other, and jointly safeguard international equity and justice as well as the common interests of developing countries.
The Chinese side, he said, is willing to work with Sierra Leone to strengthen coordination within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and implement the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC.
For his part, Bio expressed warm congratulations on the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between Sierra Leone and China.
Bio said that China, in the spirit of putting people first, has made remarkable achievements in getting rid of poverty and fighting the COVID-19 epidemic, which has not only made itself stronger, but also made important contributions to world peace, security and economic growth.
He thanked China for its concrete and practical assistance for Sierra Leone's economic and social development and the African country's fight against the pandemic, saying that China is a true and trustworthy good friend of Sierra Leone and the African people.
Sierra Leone firmly upholds the one-China policy and firmly supports China in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and territorial integrity, Bio said.
Sierra Leone stands ready to work with China to deepen their friendship, strengthen cooperation in such areas as education, health and food security, and advance cooperation within the framework of the FOCAC, he added.