Chinese and South Sudanese officials attend a signing ceremony for the construction of the Jur River bridge, in Juba, capital of South Sudan, on Sept. 24, 2020. South Sudan on Thursday signed a deal with the Chinese government that will lead to construction of the Jur River bridge linking Juba to the Bahr El Ghazal region and its northern neighbor Sudan. (Chinese Embassy in South Sudan/Handout via Xinhua)
JUBA, Sept. 24 (Xinhua) -- South Sudan on Thursday signed a deal with the Chinese government that will lead to construction of the Jur River bridge linking Juba to the Bahr El Ghazal region and its northern neighbor Sudan.
Simon Mijok Mijak, Minister of Roads and Bridges said the project will be funded through a grant from the Chinese government.
"This is a great day for the people of South Sudan and Greater Bahr El Ghazal and Western Bahr El Ghazal in particular, today we have signed a supplementary agreement on the implementation of Jur River bridge in Wau. This was one of the pledges of President Salva Kiir during his visit in October 2013 to Western Bahr El Ghazal," Mijak told journalists in Juba during the signing ceremony.
He disclosed that during President Salva Kiir's visit to Beijing, the Chinese government agreed to support the construction of the Jur River Bridge, in an effort to develop the youngest nation.
The initial agreement was signed in August 2019, and this latest is necessary to speed implementation of the work, according to Mijak.
"The signing of today is a cornerstone of our strong and unshakeable relationship between South Sudan and China. This is another tremendous achievement of the government for the people of South Sudan," said Mijak.
Hua Ning, Chinese ambassador to South Sudan, said the support from China demonstrates Beijing's commitment toward the future development of South Sudan.
"Today, I am very pleased to join the signing ceremony of the Jur River Bridge Project, which demonstrates the Chinese government's firm commitment to the future development of our cooperation, friendship and our support for the long-term development of South Sudan," said Hua.
He disclosed that the project is already underway with the first shipment of construction materials arriving from China.
Hua added that the project will play a key role in connecting people in Bahr El Ghazal region, promoting local trade, business and transportation.
He noted that China will continue to support South Sudan's economic recovery and development besides offering humanitarian aid.
"We are glad to see the South Sudanese government has established an economic crisis management committee, and China is happy to extend her helping hand for the economic recovery and we are also mobilizing necessary resources for the future development of South Sudan's economy," said Hua.
He said that bridges and highways are essential for stimulating economic growth and attracting foreign direct investments to South Sudan.
"China is now boasting the largest highway network and we have built a lot of great bridges. We very much wish to share our knowledge and expertise with our South Sudanese counterparts. We hope that the roads and bridges will bring more benefits to the local people while we continue to advance the peace process," said Hua.