President hails strong ties with Eritrea

Countries urged to boost cooperation, common growth

President Xi Jinping and visiting Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki wave to children during a welcoming ceremony before their talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday. (PHOTO / XINHUA)

President Xi Jinping underlined on Monday China's readiness to explore cooperation with Eritrea in infrastructure development, telecommunications, agriculture, mining and fisheries as part of broader steps to promote win-win cooperation and common development.

In talks with visiting Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki in Beijing, Xi reaffirmed Beijing's commitment to supporting the African nation in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests and opposing foreign interference in its internal affairs and imposition of unilateral sanctions.

China will encourage more businesses to invest in Eritrea and continue with aid programs, including sending medical teams and agricultural experts, he told Isaias, who started his state visit to China on Sunday.

Before their talks, a red carpet was rolled out for the Eritrean president during a ceremony that also included a 21-gun salute and a guard of honor.

Isaias' visit to China came ahead of the 30th anniversary of the two nations' establishment of diplomatic ties on May 24.

Xi noted that both nations have always trusted and supported each other over the past three decades, and Beijing, as a trustworthy friend of Eritrea, has always viewed and developed bilateral ties from a strategic and long-term perspective.

In an international landscape full of instability and uncertainties, ensuring the sound growth of ties between China and Eritrea is not only in keeping with the common and long-term interests of both nations, but is also instrumental to safeguarding regional peace and international fairness and justice, he said.

Xi underscored China's readiness to deepen the bilateral friendship, both as friends and comrades, and take the bilateral strategic partnership to a new level.

China is willing to conduct exchanges with Eritrea on experiences in state governance, and support each other in jointly opposing unilateralism and hegemonic acts in order to uphold the common interests of both nations and those of developing countries, he said.

He called on both nations to jointly utilize frameworks and platforms such as the joint building of the Belt and Road, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa, in advancing win-win cooperation.

Xi expressed appreciation for Eritrea's support of China's efforts to evacuate its citizens from Sudan, which he said spoke volumes for the strong bond of friendship between the two nations.

The two nations should adopt more measures to strengthen people-to-people exchanges, he added.

Xi expounded on the need for China and Africa to build up their solidarity and tackle challenges of the times under the new circumstances, saying that mutual respect, understanding, support and help will forever be the focus of China-Africa friendship.

He noted that Africa is "a land full of hope", adding that cooperation between China and Africa plays an important role in guiding South-South cooperation and international cooperation with the continent.

He reaffirmed China's resolve to work with African nations to carry forward the traditional friendship, consolidate strategic mutual trust and provide new opportunities for Africa, as China moves forward with high-quality growth and follows its own path to modernization.

The two sides should further deepen and firm up pragmatic cooperation and promote the building of an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future, Xi said.

Isaias emotionally recalled his special attachment to China over the past 50-plus years, saying that his people will never forget the precious support from China in their efforts to win independence and liberation.

China is a great country and any attempt to contain China's development is doomed to failure, he said.

He appealed for stronger cooperation between the two countries and expressed belief that the bilateral strategic partnership will help Eritrea achieve economic and social development.

Premier Li Qiang also held talks with Isaias on Monday.

Trade between China and Eritrea grew by 32.2 percent year-on-year to $610 million in 2022, with China mainly exporting electronic and mechanical products and importing copper ore and leather products from the African nation.