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Eritrea eyes all-round cooperation with China

Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki shakes hands with Chinese State Councilor and Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi when he met him in Asmara, Eritrea, Jan 5, 2022. (YANG ZHEN / XINHUA)

ASMARA – Eritrea hopes to learn from China's development experiences and strengthen cooperation with China in various fields, Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki said on Wednesday.

He made the remarks while meeting with the Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Asmara, the country's capital.

The Eritrean leader asked Wang to convey his sincere greetings to Chinese President Xi Jinping.

He congratulated the Communist Party of China on its centenary, saying that over the past century, the CPC has adapted socialism to the Chinese context and continuously carried it forward, demonstrating the strong vitality of the socialist system.

China has not only made brilliant achievements in its own national development and economic development, but also made great contributions to the cause of human progress by opposing hegemony and building a just and equal global order, he said.

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Strengthening partnership with China is crucial to Africa's development, and cooperation with China is of great significance to the 1.3 billion people on the African continent, said Afwerki, who hopes China to play a bigger role in supporting Africa's development.

He said Eritrean-China friendship enjoys a solid foundation and Eritrea always firmly supports China in safeguarding sovereignty and independence and respects China's legitimate position.

Afwerki refuted the so-called Chinese "debt trap" rhetoric, saying China has never interfered in other countries' internal affairs and is an indispensable and true development partner of Africa

Afwerki said he was very pleased to have decided with President Xi Jinping to establish the bilateral relationship as a strategic partnership.

Eritrea has drawn up a roadmap for cooperation with China and looks forward to learning from China's development experience to conduct more dynamic cooperation, especially in infrastructure, mineral resources, agriculture and human resources, he said.

Wang first conveyed cordial greetings and best wishes from President Xi Jinping for the Eritrean president. He said Eritrea is the first stop of his opening visit as Chinese Foreign Minister in the new year, which fully demonstrates the importance China attaches to the Sino-Eritrean relations and traditional friendship between the two countries.

The two heads of state decided to elevate China-Eritrea relations to a strategic partnership, opening up broader prospects for bilateral cooperation, said Wang.

China would like to take this opportunity to implement the important consensus reached by the two heads of state and push bilateral cooperation across the board to a new high, he said.

China stands ready to work with Eritrea to turn the traditional political friendship between the two countries into a driving force for economic cooperation, transform Eritrea's rich natural resources into its development advantage and help Eritrea enhance its capacity for independent development and expedite its industrialization process, the Chinese minister said.

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Afwerki refuted the so-called Chinese "debt trap" rhetoric, stressing that China has never interfered in other countries' internal affairs and is an indispensable and true development partner of Africa. He hoped that China can play a bigger role in Africa's peace and development process.

The two sides also agreed to work together to implement the outcomes of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and boost China-Eritrea practical cooperation in all areas.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi, left, and Eritrean Foreign Minister Osman Saleh show a joint statement on consolidating bilateral strategic partnership in Asmara, Eritrea, Jan 5, 2022. (PHOTO / MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS, CHINA)

MEETING WITH ERITREAN FM

The Chinese foreign minister also held talks and signed a joint statement with his Eritrean counterpart Osman Saleh on Wednesday. 

It has been 32 years in a row for Chinese foreign ministers to visit Africa for the first time, which demonstrates the solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa, and also shows that China's diplomacy always stands on the side of developing countries, said Wang.

As strategic partners, China and Eritrea should more firmly support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, he said.

"We should strengthen coordination and cooperation in international and multilateral affairs, hold high the banner of multilateralism, and oppose hegemony and power politics. We will continue to promote democracy in international relations and safeguard international fairness and justice.”

China will always stand by our African brothers, and China's vote in the United Nations always belongs to developing countries.

On his part, Osman said the establishment of the Strategic Partnership between Eritrea and China will push bilateral relations to a new height.

Eritrea fully agrees with Chinese President Xi Jinping's "nine programs" initiative and is ready to work with China to align and implement the cooperation framework plan, strengthen cooperation in infrastructure, ports, industrial parks, and translate the willingness of cooperation into tangible results.

The two countries share common ideals on issues such as peace and stability, sovereignty and independence, mutually beneficial development, equity and justice. Eritrea firmly pursues the one-China policy and supports China's just position on issues related to China's Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, and the South China Sea.