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Ambassador Sun Xianghua's Remarks at the Award-Giving Ceremony of the Writing Competition of My China Stories
(Dr. Sun Xianghua, Ambassador of China, Apr. 20, 2017)

May I start by paying my respect to H.M.King Letsie III and the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Dr. Pakalitha Mosisili,
Your Honorable Dr. Mamphono Khaketla, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Relations,
Colleagues from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Ministry of Development Planning,
Distinguished guests,
Friends from the media,
Ladies and gentlemen,

Today, we are joyously gathered here, to celebrate the successful conclusion of the first writing competition ever held by the Chinese Embassy, titled "My China Stories 2017". We will give awards to the winners of this competition, and we will also see off the first group of Basotho who are going to attend the first training program held in China for this year. First of all, I would like to express my sincere thanks and welcome to you all for attending today's event.

The idea of holding a writing competition about "My China Stories" came to us last year, as we were celebrating the 50th anniversary of the independence of Lesotho. Last year also marked the start of the comprehensive implementation of the outcomes of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which was held in December 2015. The purpose of this writing competition is three-fold.

Firstly, this competition is an effort to record the moving stories that have happened between China and Lesotho, as well as the Chinese and the Basotho, just as the title of this competition indicates. Decades have passed since our two countries established diplomatic relations. One of the outstanding features of the China-Lesotho relations is that, no matter how the international landscape evolves, no matter what difficulties we encounter, our commitment, the commitment both of China and Lesotho to develop our friendship and cooperation has never wavered. This friendship is founded on equality and mutual respect. We treat each other as equals and respect each other's sovereign and sacred rights to safeguard its core interests and to choose its own path of the development. China has been steadfastly supporting Lesotho's efforts to maintain stability, develop economy and improve its people's livelihood. This friendship is also based on sincere mutual assistance. Our two countries have carried out extensive cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, industrialization, agriculture, culture and education, public health, capacity building, disaster relief, safety and security. The Parliament building, the Nthabisneg National Convention Centre, the State Library and Archive, the Friendship Middle School which China handed over to Lesotho just three months ago, are just a few of the telling examples of this cooperation and mutual assistance. Maybe you are also aware that, the Chinese government has very recently decided to provide a further RMB20 million worth of food aid this year, on top of last year's food aid worth RMB18 million. I am also very proud to tell you that last week, officials from the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Public Works have been to China and met their Chinese counterparts to discuss in detail the funding of some major projects in Lesotho. Meanwhile, 9 engineers from China will come to Lesotho very soon to work on the feasibility study of the Queen II hospital.

The reason of my saying all the above, is that I want to tell my dear Basotho friends that China-Lesotho friendship and cooperation is rich in content and strong in vitality. Under our joint efforts, it is destined to bear more and greater fruits in the future. In this process, many moving stories between our two countries and peoples must have happened. If not told, they may get lost in history. Therefore, the first purpose of this competition is to record these stories.

Secondly, we intend to draw inspirations from the past experiences of our friendship and cooperation. Heraclitus, the philosopher of ancient Greece once said, no one steps into the same water twice, and the sun is new every day. China-Lesotho friendly relations, with an eye to better adapt to the changing world situation and the trend of times, should spare no efforts in broadening, deepening and ameliorating our exchanges and cooperation, so that to bring more tangible benefits to our two peoples. One of the purposes for us to hold this competition is to listen to how our Basotho friends think of China and Chinese people, what is their opinion of the training programs in China, and how to organize the programs better in the future. This is the reason why we invited the Basotho who either have gone to train or study in China, or personally known some Chinese, to participate in this competition. I must say that that the stories we have received are quite representative, as you can see that most of the writers have gone to China under a plethora of training topics, including agriculture, business management, education, creative designing, laws, green energy, bio-technology, food safety, information technology, telecommunication, land management, medical science, human resources management, immigration, finance, taxation administration, etc., just to mention a few. By reading all those stories, we can get a general feedback about the training programs. We know where we are strong, and also where improvements are needed in the future. For this reason, I want to express my heartfelt thanks to all the writers of this book.

Thirdly, the writing competition also aims to encourage more people to join us in promoting China-Lesotho friendship and cooperation. As a Chinese saying goes, the key to relations between states lies in the affinity between their peoples, and the affinity between the peoples stems from their mutual understanding from bottom of heart. To further develop China-Lesotho relations, we should have and will have more people engaged in this grand cause. At present, nearly 300 Basotho are invited by the Chinese government to attend various training programs in China every year, and a further nearly 100 Basotho go to study in Chinese Universities every year, many of whom go there sponsored by the Chinese Government Scholarships. But we should not become complacent with what we have achieved, we should look ahead to the future. For our cooperation to meet the needs we face at present and will face in the future, more people should be encouraged to become the participants and contributors to China-Lesotho friendship. I wish more Basotho, with this book, will know better about China, not only of its past, but also its present, especially its potentials and opportunities for our cooperation. In this regard, our new group of Basotho, who are going to China next week on a human resources training program, are fortunate. They can read this China Stories book before they depart and will be better prepared for their visit. I wish you have a pleasant and fulfilling study trip, and I am looking forward to hearing your China Stories when you come back!

With that, I conclude my few remarks. Lastly, I would like to use this opportunity:
to thank you for participating in the My China Stories Writing Competition,
to congratulate all the winners of the Competition once again,
to wish you who are going to China next week a bon-voyage and a successful visit,
to thank Your Honorable Dr. Khaketla for bestowing us with your presence and warm remarks today,
and I wish you all the best!

Khotso, Pula, Nala!

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