Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Wang Kejian (R, Front) and Lebanese President of the Council for Development and Reconstruction Nabil El-Jisr (L, Front) sign a project deal in Beirut, Lebanon, on Jan. 9, 2018. The launching ceremony of the Chinese government’s funding project to build and equip a new Lebanese National Conservatory of Music was held here on Tuesday. (Xinhua/Dalati & Nohra)

BEIRUT, Jan. 9 (Xinhua) — Lebanon’s Prime Minister Saad Hariri on Tuesday expressed his gratitude for China’s funding for a new conservatory in Lebanon.

“I want to thank the Chinese Ambassador to Lebanon Wang Kejian for this gift that we regard valuable for Lebanon and its culture,” he said during a ceremony to sign the project deal at the Grand Serail.

“It is a tangible effort to revive Lebanese culture,” Hariri said, adding that the music institute would be the first project of many cultural initiatives set for 2018.

For his part, Wang said that the “Lebanese music and arts are not only Lebanese treasures, they are also cultural treasures for the whole humanity.”

The Chinese ambassador said “upon the request of the Lebanese government, the Chinese government decided to help Lebanon build this conservatory which will be the first comprehensive project the Chinese government will launch in Lebanon.”

Wang noted that China has provided to Lebanon about 100 million U.S. dollars in aid since 1996. He said the country has also provided humanitarian assistance to the Syrian refugees in Lebanon.