Chinese FM: China-Africa cooperation flourishing despite COVID-19
Updated 18:12, 07-Jan-2021

The COVID-19 pandemic can't stop the friendly cooperation between China and Africa, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said on Tuesday during a visit to Nigeria.

Meeting with his Nigerian counterpart Geoffrey Onyeama, Wang said his visit carries forward the Chinese foreign ministers' tradition of choosing Africa for the year's first overseas visit, showing the impregnable bond between China and Africa.

The Chinese diplomat is currently on a trip to five African countries, namely Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles, from January 4 to 9.

In a joint press conference of the two foreign ministers, Wang said his visits to the five African countries aim to send a message that China will work together with Africa to build an even stronger community with a shared future.

The Chinese foreign minister said China-Africa cooperation has brought significant positive changes to the local societies, improving African people's lives. 

Wang stressed that China's assistance to Africa is not politically motivated or aimed at interfering in Africa's internal affairs. He said China will support Africa in four aspects: fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, speeding up economic recovery, promoting high-quality China-Africa cooperation and strengthening Africa's international influence.

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama (R) in Abuja, Nigeria, January 5, 2021. /Chinese Foreign Ministry

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) and Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama (R) in Abuja, Nigeria, January 5, 2021. /Chinese Foreign Ministry

Advancing China-Nigeria ties

During his talks with Onyeama, Wang said this year is an important year for China-Nigeria relations as the two countries will usher in the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Nigeria is the largest economy and the most populous country in Africa, and it has always been a major strategic partner that China attaches great importance to in Africa, Wang said. It is the right time for the two countries to set up an intergovernmental committee and make overall plans for bilateral cooperation, he added.

China will vigorously promote the construction of key projects in Nigeria to help it accelerate industrialization and improve its independent development capabilities, he said.

Wang said the two countries will continue to expand cooperation in various areas, including digital economy and green economy, so as to achieve diversified development, besides deepening military and security cooperation to enhance Nigeria's capacity to safeguard its national security.

On his part, Onyeama said the Chinese foreign minister made Nigeria the first stop of his first foreign visit in the New Year, which reflects the high level of Nigeria-China relations.

Nigeria attaches great importance to deepening ties with China and regards it as a special strategic cooperation partner, said Onyeama, adding that Nigeria firmly supports the one-China principle.

Wang also met with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. During the meeting, they agreed to promote bilateral cooperation on all fronts.

Buhari said China strongly supported Nigeria when oil prices were falling and the country was facing developmental difficulties. Nigeria effectively addressed problems, such as underdeveloped infrastructure and insufficient food supply, with China playing a very important role in Nigeria's sustainable development, he added.

The Nigerian government will remain committed to promoting the all-round development of Nigeria-China relations, he said.

Buhari later said on his Twitter account, the country is grateful for China's support in terms of infrastructure, defense and so on, appreciating China's efforts in helping Nigeria reducing "severe infrastructural deficit."

"Indeed there cannot be sustainable development without infrastructural development. Nigeria will continue to honor all its obligations in the relationship with the People's Republic of China," he tweeted. 

(With input from Xinhua)

(Cover: Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari (R) and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) in Abuja, Nigeria, January 5, 2021. /Chinese Foreign Ministry)

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