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China, Sierra Leone upgrade relationship

CHINA-BEIJING-XI JINPING-KOROMA-TALKS (CN)

Chinese President Xi Jinping (front L) holds a welcome ceremony for Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma before their talks in Beijing, capital of China, Dec. 1, 2016.(Xinhua/Ding Lin)

BEIJING, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- China will help Sierra Leone improve its industrialization and public health system, President Xi Jinping said Thursday.

Xi and Sierra Leone President Ernest Bai Koroma witnessed the signing of cooperation documents after their talks in Beijing, which covered areas including diplomacy, economy, infrastructure development and health.

The two heads of state decided to upgrade bilateral relationship into a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation.

"China encourages domestic enterprises and financial institutions to actively engage in infrastructure building and mining in Sierra Leone for mutually beneficial cooperation," Xi said.

China will contribute to Sierra Leone's industrialization and sustainable self-development, as well as support the country to develop agriculture and improve food security, Xi said.

China will jointly study diseases with the West African country, once ravaged by Ebola virus, as well as disease prevention and control, and support the building of its public health system, Xi added.

Xi said China will look to work with Sierra Leone to safeguard the legitimate interests of developing nations in UN affairs, climate change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and African peace and security.

He also stressed that he was delighted to see a stronger, united Africa that was accelerating integration, adding that China will align its own development with sustainable self-development in Africa.

China is a true and trustworthy friend of Sierra Leone, Koroma told Xi, thanking China for taking the lead in the international community to aid Sierra Leone during the outbreak of the Ebola epidemic in 2014.

Sierra Leone upholds the one-China policy, admires China's outstanding development and hopes to strengthen cooperation with China, Koroma said.

Both sides have decided to implement the outcome of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit in Johannesburg in 2015, to boost bilateral relations and China-Africa ties.

At the summit, China announced 10 major plans for China-Africa cooperation over three years, backed by 60 billion U.S. dollars package.

China's top legislator Zhang Dejiang also met with Koroma Thursday.

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[ Editor: Zhang Zhou ]

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