China welcomes Djibouti to take part in Belt and Road initiative
China and Djibouti yesterday agreed to establish a strategic partnership to strengthen all-round cooperation.
The announcement came as Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
Guelleh is the first head of state of an African country to visit China since the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in October.
Stressing that China attaches great importance to relations with Djibouti, Xi said the two countries had always treated each other with equality and had shown mutual respect and support since the establishment of diplomatic ties 38 years ago.
China is willing to work with Djibouti to speed up implementation of the results of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, jointly forge ahead with Belt and Road construction, and fully strengthen bilateral cooperation in all fields, Xi said.
China welcomes Djibouti to take part in Belt and Road construction, and is ready to advance cooperation on infrastructure projects including railways, ports, water supply, liquefied natural gas pipeline, as well as building a free trade area and cooperation in agriculture, Xi said.
Guelleh, who concludes a 3-day state visit to China today, said he was very pleased to be the first head of state of an African country to visit China since the Party congress and he congratulated Xi on his re-election as general secretary of the Party’s Central Committee.
Calling Djibouti “a good friend of China,” Guelleh said his country views China as a top-priority and indispensable partner.
He expressed satisfaction with the development of bilateral ties over the past three decades and more, and thanked China for its assistance and support.
Djibouti would like to take an active part in the Belt and Road initiative, and enhance cooperation with China on infrastructure and areas important to people’s livelihoods, he said.
“I would like to recall the geostrategic place of Djibouti and its importance in this part of the world as an islet of stability and a crossroads of Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” he said.
Guelleh said his country appreciates China’s active engagement in UN peacekeeping and international anti-piracy efforts, thanking China for its role in maintaining world peace and prosperity.
China had made a long-standing contribution to security and development in Africa even in the days when China itself was poor, said Guelleh, reiterating that Djibouti adheres to the one-China policy and said he was delighted to see China regain its due status in the world.
“Whatever changes may take place in China’s development and the international landscape, China will stand by the developing countries including African countries and be their sincere friend and reliable partner,” Xi said.
He called on both sides to maintain high-level exchanges and expand cooperation between the two governments, legislative institutions, political parties and local governments.
He suggested both sides share experience in governance and development and support each other on issues concerning their core interests and major concerns.
China will continue to assist Djibouti in improving its health care and deepen cooperation in human resources development as well as people-to-people exchanges, said Xi.
“China supports Djibouti’s role in international and regional affairs and will work with it in communicating on the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and peace and security in Africa.”
Xi hoped the two countries would work together to protect their own and other developing countries’ interests and play a constructive role in safeguarding peace and stability of the Horn of Africa.
The two countries signed deals on economic, technical and agricultural cooperation after the talks.
Djibouti hosts China’s first overseas military base. The base, which opened in August, will provide support for naval escorts, UN peacekeeping, anti-piracy and evacuating Chinese nationals from the region in emergencies.
Djibouti also hosts troops from the United States, France and Japan.