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China is working closely with Seychelles to enhance bilateral relations

Victoria, Seychelles | May 22, 2024, Wednesday @ 16:19 in Editorial » THE INTERVIEW | By: Sedrick Nicette Edited By: Betymie Bonnelame | Views: 5043
China is working closely with Seychelles to enhance bilateral relations

 Lin Nan took office on December 14, 2023. (Chinese Embassy Seychelles)  

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(Seychelles News Agency) - The Chinese Ambassador to Seychelles, Lin Nan, took office on December 14, 2023, and has already overseen the completion of a number of projects as part of long-standing cooperation between the two countries.

SNA got the opportunity to speak to the new ambassador to learn more about her plans and thoughts on Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, which historically has strong ties with China .

 

SNA: What did you immediately notice about Seychelles, when you got here? 

LN: To me, Seychelles was a distant and unfamiliar place before I was appointed as Chinese Ambassador. But since taking office, I was immediately impressed by the beautiful scenery, profound cultural heritage and friendly people in Seychelles.

I was fascinated by the world renowned beautiful white sand beaches and the coco de mer forest at Vallee de Mai. When I was walking down the street or shopping at the market, local friends will always greet me with 'Ni Hao', or hello. This is the manifestation of the deep friendship between our two peoples.

 

SNA: How do you describe Seychelles so far?

LN: Over the past five months, I have been working hard to promote cooperation between our two countries and achieved tangible results. In the process, I acquired more knowledge and have a deeper understanding of Seychelles. Seychelles is a peaceful country in the Indian Ocean and Africa, which is widely respected by the international community.

The economy is full of vitality thanks to the thriving pillar industry of tourism and fishery. The country has made steady progress in a variety of areas after the COVID-19. Seychelles is listed as the richest nation in Africa in terms of GDP per capita. It is also the leading country in Africa in line with the Human Development Index.

I arrived on December 7, 2023, when the country was hit by the massive explosion [at the Providence Industrial Area] and landslides disaster. I noticed that local people worked hard to rebuild their homes and business, demonstrating solidarity and strong resilience. Seychelles is also the model of multicultural society in the world. People from Africa, Europe and Asia have been living together harmoniously for several hundred years, and the unique Creole culture holds a special place in the garden of world civilisation, showcasing the colourful fruits of inter-cultural exchanges and mutual learning.  

 

SNA: Maritime security is very important to Seychelles. Is China looking to work with Seychelles in this area?

LN: I noticed that Seychelles is a big country in terms of its Exclusive Economic Zone and faced with serious challenges such as illegal drugs, human and weapons trafficking and IUU (illegal unreported and unregulated) and piracy activities also re-emerged in the Seychelles' EEZ recently. So, it is true that maritime security is a big concern of Seychelles.

China is committed to working with all partners to build a world of security for all, and President Xi Jinping proposed the Global Security Initiative in 2022. In this regard, China is working closely with the Seychelles side to enhance maritime security. China donated a patrol boat to Seychelles in 2014, which played an important role in the Seychelles Coast Guard's effort to combat piracy and illegal activities on the sea.

In 2011, China donated two Y12 planes to Seychelles to perform aerial patrol missions. In April this year, the 45th Chinese Naval Escort Task Force conducted a goodwill visit to Seychelles. The task force held professional exchanges with the Seychelles Coast Guard, which greatly enhanced the mutual understanding between our military forces. China also provided capacity building and training courses to Seychelles military officers to improve their capability in addressing maritime security challenges.

I believe that with concerted efforts, the maritime security situation in the Western Indian Ocean will be continuously strengthened.

 

SNA: One of the big projects in Seychelles is the SBC House, how is it going?

LN: The SBC [Seychelles Broadcasting Corporation] project is the largest project aided by the Chinese government in recent years. The project commenced in December 2018 and was completed in April this year. Despite the adverse impact of COVID-19, the Chinese side had done its best to make sure a state-of-the-art building was delivered.

Today, I can say that the new SBC House is a landmark in Seychelles and meets with public acclaim. The total building area of the House is about 5,600 square metres, capable of holding various functions like TV broadcasting and post-production, radio production and broadcasting. The Chinese side also provided the radio and television systems equipment, and office furniture, to ensure that the House can function smoothly after hand-over.

In addition to broadcasting functions, the House can accommodate a wide range of social and cultural events. I believe that it will help to boost local social and cultural causes and bring tangible benefits to the Seychellois people. The new SBC House has become another token of friendship between China and Seychelles, as well as a venue to link our two peoples together.

SBCHouse is the largest project aided by the Chinese government in recent years. (Seychelles News Agency) Photo License: CC-BY 

 

SNA: What other projects are China and Seychelles working on?

LN: As the biggest developing country, China is committed to helping other developing countries like Seychelles to achieve sustainable development goals under the framework of South-South cooperation. Since diplomatic ties were established 48 years ago, China has attached great importance to bilateral relations and provided assistance to help the economic and social development of Seychelles to the best of its capabilities.

Dozens of projects, including some big projects such as the National Assembly Building, Palace of Justice, national swimming pool, social housing, and the Standard Bureau Building, have been implemented and fruitful outcomes achieved.

The China Medical Teams have been continuously providing medical service to local people for nearly 40 years, and their work was highly appreciated. The Chinese government provides 80-100 short-term training opportunities each year to qualified Seychellois, to improve their capacity in various areas.

Together with Seychelles' side, we will continue to plan targeted projects to meet the economic and social development needs of Seychelles. At the moment, we are working on the Social Housing Project, and exploring with the Seychelles side projects concerning people's livelihood, green development, and maritime security. 

I must point out that China's aid projects are only part of our practical cooperation. Over the past 48 years, China and Seychelles have worked together to tap the potential of mutually beneficial cooperation. Tourism is the top priority and we are encouraging more Chinese tourists to visit Seychelles.

Fishery and trade are also important areas of cooperation. The Chinese market is huge and open to all countries including Seychelles. We are willing to import more quality products from Seychelles and other African countries. In addition, culture, education, health and people-to-people exchanges are also integral parts of our relations, and we will spare no effort to achieve more results in these areas.  

 

SNA: Tell us about yourself and your career journey up to now.

LN: I am a career diplomat and have been in foreign service for nearly 30 years. I once worked in countries like Cuba, the United States of America, and Spain. I love my job. As a diplomat, I have the opportunity to work in different countries and experience fresh cultures and make friends worldwide. In addition to my diplomatic career, I am also very privileged to have the opportunity to serve as the vice mayor of Chengdu Municipality of China for two years. Chengdu is a megacity with a population of more than 20 million and an economy of big scale. Maybe some local friends are aware that Chengdu and Seychelles opened direct flights in 2017.   

I am very honoured to be appointed as Ambassador to Seychelles and grateful to the hospitality and assistance accorded to me by the Seychelles government and people over the past five months. I have established friendships with a lot of local people, not only at the government level, but also at grass root and community levels. With the support of Seychelles friends, I have the confidence to fulfill my duty effectively and bring the bilateral relations to a new high.

 

SNA: As an ambassador, what are you looking to bring to Seychelles?

LN: The lofty goal of China's diplomacy is to build a community with a shared future for mankind. China is working with all partners to build a world of lasting peace, common security for all, and common prosperity through win-win cooperation. This world should also be open, inclusive, clean and beautiful. China advocates for an equal and orderly multi-polar world, where all countries, regardless of size, are treated as equals. China calls for a universally beneficial and inclusive economic globalisation, which will meet the common needs of all countries, especially developing countries.

China and Seychelles are time-honoured friends and brothers. The traditional friendship is deeply embedded in the minds of our people. China always views Seychelles as an important partner in Africa and the western Indian Ocean region. In developing relations with Seychelles, we are committed to following such principles as sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, which was firstly put forth by President Xi Jinping in 2013, and build a community of shared future for China and Seychelles.

We will support each other on the international stage, and jointly uphold international fairness and justice, abiding by the purposes and principles of the United Nations Charter, practicing true multilateralism, and safeguarding our independence and territorial integrity. It is our view that the legitimate interests, especially the core interest of countries in the world, big or small, must be respected. We will firmly support Seychelles to protect its legitimate interests and appreciate Seychelles' position on the One China policy.

In this regard, I would like to reiterate that there is but one China in the world and Taiwan is an integral part of China, and the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the whole of China.

On October 25, 1971, the 26th session of the United Nations General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758 with an overwhelming majority. The Resolution resolved once and for all the question of the representation of the whole of China, including Taiwan, in the United Nations as a political, legal and procedural issue.

The One-China principle is also the fundamental prerequisite and political foundation for China to establish and develop relations with all other countries, From the very first country that established diplomatic relations with the People's Republic of China to the 183rd country, including Seychelles, they have all made political commitment to adhering to the One-China principle. This shows that the One-China principle is a universally recognised principle and represents people's sentiments and a global trend.  

 On the basis of cemented political mutual trust, I will work with Seychelles' side to turn the potential of practical cooperation in tourism, trade, culture, education, health and people-to-people exchange into reality, and bring tangible benefits to our two peoples. The new Forum on China-Africa Cooperation meeting will be held in September this year in Beijing, we will work with Seychelles and other African partners to ensure the success of the meeting. 

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Tags: Global Security Initiative, Creole culture, SBC House, One-China principle

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