Speech of H.E. Ambassador Xiao Jianguo on the Launching Ceremony for the Project of Emergency Food Assistance to Malnourished Pregnant and Lactating Women in Timor-Leste
2021-10-29 16:52

Your Excellency, Ms. Odete Maria Freitas Belo, Minister of Health,

Respectful Mr. Dageng Liu, WFP Country Representative,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Dear Friends,

Good morning!

It is a real delight to join you on the launching ceremony of the Emergency Food Assistance Project provided by the Chinese government through the World Food Program(WFP) to Malnourished Pregnant and Lactating Women in Timor-Leste affected by the COVID-19 epidemic and floods. First of all, I would like to thank Your Excellency Minister Ms. Belo and all friends for attending the ceremony. I would also like to express my heartfelt thanks to the WFP Representative Office in Timor-Leste and relevant departments of Timor-Leste for actively promoting the smooth launch of the project.

From March to April this year, affected by the deteriorating COVID-19 epidemic and the flood disaster at that time, the “State of National Emergency” and “State of National Disaster” in Timor-Leste have been intertwined, which aggravated the food insecurity and caused a huge impact on the economy and livelihood to this country. In this process, malnourished pregnant and lactating women, as vulnerable groups, faced more severe difficulties and challenges. Under this circumstance, the government of Timor-Leste submitted a request for emergency food assistance. The Chinese government attaches great importance to this. By signing an agreement with the World Food Program, China plans to provide approximately 550 tons of emergency food assistance to Malnourished Pregnant and Lactating Women in Timor-Leste through South-South Cooperation Assistance Fund. The successful launch of this project today reflects China’s firm support for Timor-Leste to fight against the COVID-19 epidemic and flood disaster. It is a vivid embodiment of the Chinese government’s implementation of the “people-oriented” concept and its adherence to the supremacy of people and life. It is a realistic portrayal of the profound friendship between China and Timor-Leste in sharing the fate and overcoming difficulties together. It is also an upgraded version of the cooperation between China and Timor-Leste in fighting against the epidemic and flood disaster.

Children is the future of the country. As we all know, as one of the least developed countries in the world, the poverty rate in Timor-Leste is still high, accounting for about 40% of the population. The stunting rate of children under 5 years old is as high as 47%, and 30% of women of childbearing age suffer from anemia. Food insecurity and malnutrition have always been problems to Timor-Leste on the road to development. For a long time, China, together with the international development partners, has been paying close attention to the food insecurity and malnutrition problems faced by Timor-Leste, and has assisted the government of Timor-leste in achieving the sustainable development goals of zero hunger from 2011 to 2030 through various cooperation methods. The cooperation project carried out by the Chinese government and the WFP Representative Office in Timor-Leste will provide emergency food assistance to more than 140,000 malnourished pregnant and lactating women in Timor-Leste. The launch and implementation of this project is of great significance to help Timor-Leste alleviate the growing malnutrition of the population and promote the development of economy and people’s livelihood around the country.

China has always attached great importance to the development of relations between our two sides. It has always adhered to the correct view of justice and interests, treated Timor-Leste as equals, actively promoted pragmatic cooperation in various fields, and tried it best to help Timor-Leste develop economy and improve people’s livelihood. Last month, in his keynote speech delivered online at the 76th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, the President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping stressed that we should care about the special needs of developing countries, and employ means such as development aid to help developing countries, particularly vulnerable ones facing exceptional difficulties, with emphasis on addressing unbalanced and inadequate development among and within countries. In fact, since the outbreak of the COVID-19 epidemic in Timor-Leste last year, China is the first country to make a quick response to your request, and the first to send a chartered plane to provide large quantities of medical supplies. So far, China has continuously donated 13 batches of medical supplies and 100,000 doses of Sinovac vaccine to the Timor-Leste. Facing the flood disaster in Timor-Leste in April this year, China immediately provided US $100,000 for humanitarian emergency assistance in cash and another US $100,000 for the logistic support of disaster relief supplies through the World Food Program. At the same time, the overseas Chinese and the Association of Chinese Enterprises in Timor-Leste actively donated more than US $100,000 in cash and materials to help the reconstruction and economic recovery of Timor-Leste.

Your Excellency Minister Ms. Belo,

Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,

At present, the century’s great changes and the unprecedented epidemic situation have brought serious challenges to the development of the world economy and the improvement of people’s livelihood, and no one or any country can be immune from it. As mutually friendly neighbors and comprehensive partners, China will stand firmly with Timor-Leste, carrying forward traditional friendship, meeting challenges hand in hand, deepening the joint construction of “the Belt and Road” and practical cooperation in various fields especially in the field of health, and practically meeting the earnest expectation of the two nations for common development, the firm pursuit of win-win cooperation, and the strong desire for a better life. Let us bolster confidence and overcome the difficulties together, and promote to build a community with a shared and better future between China and Timor-Leste.

Thank you!

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