Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held talks with Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama on Tuesday during an official visit to Nigeria.
Wang said that for 30 years in a row, Chinese foreign ministers choose Africa as their first New Year visit destination, which demonstrates the unbreakable traditional friendship between China and Africa.
This year’s visit shows that the COVID-19 epidemic cannot stop China-Africa friendship and cooperation, he said.
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 50 years ago, China and Nigeria have always treated each other with mutual understanding, trust and support, according to Wang.
Both sides cherish friendship and cooperation, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, adhere to the principle of non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and support multilateralism and democratization in international relations, Wang said.
China is ready to work with Nigeria to review the useful experience of the past 50 years and draw up a blueprint for the next 50 years, he said.
China highly appreciates Nigeria’s consistent understanding and support on issues concerning China’s core interests and major concerns, and will continue to support Nigeria in playing a more important role on the international and regional stage, and support Nigeria in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests.
Wang said that this year is an important year for China-Nigeria relations. It is the right time for the two countries to set up an intergovernmental committee and make overall plans for bilateral cooperation.
China is ready to strengthen cooperation with Nigeria in infrastructure, agriculture, investment, free trade zone, education and other fields, and import more Nigerian products. China welcomes Nigeria to actively participate in the China International Import Expo and share China’s development opportunities, he said.
Wang stressed that since the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) 20 years ago, China-Africa cooperation has made important progress in all fields.
China appreciates Nigeria’s support for the development of the FOCAC and is ready to work with Nigeria and other African members to hold a successful new session of the FOCAC and make plans for the next step of China-Africa cooperation, Wang said.
China congratulates Africa on the commencement of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) on January 1 this year. It is an important step taken by Africa in solidarity and self-improvement, and also important progress made in Africa’s economic integration, Wang said, adding that China is ready to explore free trade cooperation with Africa.
Wang said that China-Nigeria relations go beyond the bilateral scope. China is ready to work with Nigeria to uphold multilateralism and oppose unilateral actions; to uphold free trade and oppose protectionism; to uphold fairness and justice and oppose power bullying, and to safeguard the common rights and interests of developing countries.
On his part, Onyeama said that 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 develop close cooperation with China and regards China as a special strategic partner of cooperation. Nigeria firmly supports the one-China principle and appreciates China’s adherence to the “one country, two systems”, said Onyeama.
He thanked China for always standing with Nigeria and providing strong support for its fight against the epidemic. Nigeria will make every effort to ensure the efficient operation of the intergovernmental committee of the two countries, push for further enhancement of bilateral cooperation and look forward to jointly hosting celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with China.
Nigeria hopes to strengthen cooperation with China in infrastructure, education, information and communications technology, vaccines and other fields, and welcomes more Chinese enterprises to invest in Nigeria to ease the trade imbalance.
FOCAC has become a model of mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Nigeria, as well as between China and Africa, Onyeama said, adding that Nigeria is ready to work with China to make the new session of FOCAC a success.
Nigeria and China have conducted fruitful cooperation in multilateral institutions and international affairs. Nigeria is ready to further strengthen coordination and cooperation with China to safeguard the common interests of developing countries.
The two sides also exchanged views on international and regional issues of common concern.
After the talks, the two foreign ministers signed a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the China-Nigeria intergovernmental committee. Enditem