Toast by Minister for Foreign Affairs and Transport Mr Joel Morgan The Celebrations of the National Day of the People’s Republic of China & Ambassador Mme Yin Lixian’s Farewell Chinese Embassy, St Louis 23rd September 2016
I am honoured to address you and share in the celebrations of the National Day of the People’s Republic of China but today however I am also saddened that Seychelles has to bid farewell to an exemplary diplomat and great friend in Her Excellency Mrs. Yin Lixian.
Before I proceed, I wish to thank Your Excellency and the members of your staff for the warm welcome and the hospitality extended to us all this evening.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Time and again, Seychelles as one of the smallest countries and China being the largest have demonstrated that positive and fraternal cooperation based on mutual respect and trust can surmount the challenges and maximize on the opportunities of this globalized world. As such, Seychelles will continue to look to China as a key partner in realizing its developmental aspirations.
The Sino- Seychelles relationship can be summed up as one that is based on friendship, trust, respect and mutual understanding. This aligns with our shared belief that these underlying principles should underpin successful bilateral relations between states.
Over the past 40 years, Seychelles and China have engaged in pragmatic, and very close collaboration in the spirit of south-south cooperation across fields, such as health, housing, education, infrastructural development, training and capacity-building. Today, we can say with much pride that the Sino-Seychelles relationship has brought huge benefits to the people of Seychelles.
The notion of people-centred development is as much a Seychellois vision as it is part China’s raison d’être.
In addition, the development of our peoples are also based in part on exchanges. We strongly value people to people exchanges which has become one of the hallmarks of our collaboration. Seychelles strongly believes that the bridges that we build with people from other nations is the true measure of the success of our bilateral cooperation.
We are therefore very happy to have the direct flights between Victoria and Beijing launched earlier this year. This has undeniably increased the connectivity between our two countries. Up until August this year, we have welcomed over 10,000 visitors from China and we are well on our way to surpass last year’s numbers.
The connectivity of our two peoples through direct flights has further been accentuated by the many cultural exchange between our two countries.
The Seychelles-China day has now established itself as a key event on our calendar of cultural activities. It offers our people the opportunity to connect with the Chinese culture and rekindle aspects of our history which are greatly intertwined with China.
In this same breath, many Seychellois have had the opportunity to gain firsthand experience of the Chinese culture and way of life. This has been through the various short-term training opportunities offered by the Government of the People’s Republic of China to our in-service personnel.
Our people have over the years shown great interest in these short courses and we look forward to continuing to benefit from these opportunities in the future.
We are also very appreciative of the scholarships offered by the Chinese Government to Seychelles every year. Seychelles fully utilizes the quota made available to it which is testimony to the ambition and desire of the Seychellois people to study abroad in China. As of now, Seychelles has nearly 50 Students in China on various courses under this programme.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is heartening to note that the people of Seychelles remain the main beneficiaries of the collaboration between our two countries. This has been exemplified by the handing over of the Glacis primary school and kindergarten to the Government of Seychelles in March this year.
Furthermore, the recent signing of the Economic and Technical Cooperation Agreement in July this year is testament of China’s unwavering commitment to Seychelles’ development agenda. This agreement, once implemented, will make available funds for the construction of the brand new SBC House project. A project that is aimed at completely revolutionizing how information is disseminated in Seychelles.
Recently, we signed the Agreement for China’s assistance in implementing the third phase of the Corgat Estate Housing project. This project is set to begin in the first quarter of 2017 and once completed, 32 Seychellois families will become new home owners. China’s commitment to assist Seychelles to bettering the lives of its people is the kind of engagement and cooperation that demonstrates the value of our relationship.
Seychelles will always consider China as a key partner in its development trajectory especially in terms of bolstering our human resources. On this, I wish to formally welcome the new batch of 13 young Chinese volunteers who arrived in Seychelles last week. They are currently working in some key sectors such as health, public utilities and sports.
Only yesterday a new cohort of medical specialists joined us. Our people will continue to benefit from specialized care in various fields such as acupuncture, radiography and cardiology. China’s unwavering commitment in boosting our human resource capability in crucial sectors such as health is a mark which underpins China’s commitment to our country.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This year we crossed an important milestone in the Sino-Seychelles relations as we celebrated 40 years since the establishment of our diplomatic ties. I remain confident that our future collaborations will be equally successful as we continue to explore the diversification our partnership.
A new area of Seychelles development vision is towards our oceanic space. Over the coming years, we are looking forward to further develop our Blue Economy as we see great potential in our oceans.
In the same vein, collaboration such as these are not unique in the sense that our two countries have similar visions and foreign policy goals.
Seychelles looks to China as a like-minded state. Not in terms of our relative sizes but in terms of common enshrined values and principles. Seychelles and China both face similar challenges brought about by an increasingly globalised world. In light of this, China and Seychelles have continuously supported each other in the endeavor to find an equitable future based on the promotion of greater exchanges and cooperation between two countries striving to attain even greater development. Seychelles will remain as a steadfast partner in supporting China internationally. Our support for the One-China policy is not simply an acquiescence but we strongly believe that it is the right policy.
Today, we are also here to celebrate your accomplishments during your time in office. We took note of your energy and conviction in strengthening the bonds of friendship between Seychelles and China. I would like to commend your unwavering commitment in helping the Government of Seychelles in improving the lives of the Seychellois people. This is something that we will certainly always remember you for.
Madame Ambassador, I would like, on behalf of the Government and people of Seychelles, to express my sincere thanks for all that you have done for the enhancement of the special relationship between our two countries.
On this note, ladies and gentlemen, I wish to invite you to join me in a toast to the good health of H.E. Mr. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China and to the friendly people of China. On behalf of the Government and the people of the Republic of Seychelles, I wish to convey our good wishes on the occasion of your National day. May we continue to work together to take our excellent bilateral relationship to even greater heights.
I also wish to raise my glass to the good health, success and prosperity of, Her Excellency Mrs. Yin Lixian. While we are deeply saddened by your departure, we are very pleased with all the bridges we have built together and the foundations laid during your time here. On behalf of the Government and the people of Seychelles I wish you all the very best in all your future endeavours and we look forward to welcoming you back to Seychelles in the future.
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