SAO TOME, China and African countries will certainly become closer co-operative partners through co-operation under the Belt and Road initiative, says Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi

He made the remarks at a media briefing here Tuesday as he concluded his first New Year visit to four African countries — Rwanda, Angola, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.

Wang added that Africa has always been the first destination for a Chinese foreign minister’s visit during each new year for the past 28 years. “It’s a good tradition that shows the international community that China always stands together with its African brothers,” he said.

No matter how China has developed, economically and politically, China always seeks a partnership with Africa built on mutual trust and sincere co-operation, he said.

Briefing the media on his visit to the four African nations, Wang said the leaders of the countries had all sent their congratulations to Communist Party of China for the success of its 19th National Congress, a once-in-five-years event. They also hoped to draw on China’s development experience because they appreciated the great achievements in China’s development, he added.

He said as African countries were trying to diversify their economies and shift from a development mode which depended on exports of raw materials and resources, China would have great strength in helping them achieve their economic diversification and industrialization goals.

“In response to Africa’s strong request, China will later this year host the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) in Beijing,” Wang said, adding that leaders of the four nations he visited had expressed readiness to attend the event and had also shown great interest in the Belt and Road initiative proposed by China.

“African countries shall not be excluded from the initiative, rather they could play a very important role in pushing forward the initiative,” he said.

China and Africa last held a FOCAC summit in late 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, which served as a major force driving China-Africa co-operation in various areas in recent years. “I believe, through efforts by both sides, the Beijing FOCAC summit this year will be another historic event,” Wang said.

During his visit Tuesday to Sao Tome and Principe, the last leg of his New Year tour of Africa, Wang met President Evaristo Carvalho and Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada.

Carvalho said he is convinced the resumption of diplomatic relations with China was the right decision the Sao Tome and Principe government made. He assured that the country will adhere wholeheartedly to the one-China policy, and looked forward to ever deepening bilateral friendly co-operation.

Trovoada said the fact that China is ready to develop friendly relations with Sao Tome and Principe shows once again that China treats all countries on an equal footing, regardless of their size, and that China is a sincere friend and reliable partner of Africa.

He said that cooperation with China will help his country onto a path of sustainable development.

For his part, Wang said that Sao Tome and Principe’s decision to resume diplomatic relations with China serves the interests of the country and its people, adding that both countries should beef up friendly co-operation for mutual benefit.


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