Egypt, China See Broad Prospects for Cooperation
On the occasion of the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Egypt In April, Dr. Mohamed Noman Galal, Egyptian ambassador to China, enthusiastically had a free talk with Our Staff Reporters about friendship between the two peoples of Egypt and China, looked forward to the broad prospects for the development of Egypt-China economic and trade cooperation in the new century and pinned infinite hopes on the future development of the friendly and cooperative relations between Egypt and China.
As he reviewed the long history of friendly exchanges between Egypt and China, the Ambassador traced to the remote years before the 6th century. During the Han (206 BC-220) and Tang (618-907) dynasties, the civilization of China was transmitted through the famous "Silk Road" into Europe and the world as a whole. What was most worthwhile for Egypt and China to take pride in was the fact that at the Bandung Conference in April 1955, the late Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser and the late Chinese Premier Zhou Enlai participated in and initiated the 10 Principles based on the well-known Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence. On May 30, 1956 China and Egypt established diplomatic relations, Egypt was the first among Arab and African countries to recognize and establish diplomatic ties with China.
For a long period of time, China and Egypt have understood and supported each other in international affairs, setting up an example for developing international ties among developing countries. The Ambassador said that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China, the Egyptian government has always pursued a one-China policy and supported the great cause of China's reunification. Egypt opposes certain countries which use the human right issue to interfere in the internal affairs of China and other countries, at the same time, it supports China's just struggle against power politics and hegemonism in international affairs. On the other hand, China also gives all-out support to Egypt's effort to push forward the Middle East peace process, and favors Egypt's stand for the establishment of a nuclear-free zone in the Middle East. Whether in war years or in peaceful times, the Egyptian people will always engrave in minds China's valuable support and assistance. In recent years, there have been frequent exchanges of visits by leaders of the two countries, in particular, the joint communique on the establishment of a strategic cooperative relationship oriented toward the 21st century, signed by President Mubarak during his China visit in 1999 with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, has laid a solid foundation for the further development of the friendly and cooperative relations between the two countries in the 21st century, marking a new milestone in the relations between the two countries. During Mubarak's visit in China, both sides signed cooperation agreements in the fields of economy, agriculture, tourism and ocean shipping.
For many years, not only the political relations and friendly cooperation between China and Egypt can serve as a model, economic and trade cooperation has also experienced significant development. Thanks to the joint efforts of both sides, the two countries brought about a fairly great leap in their economic and trade relations in 2000. The total volume of trade between the two countries reached US$907 million. In the same year, the volume of Chinese investment in Egypt increased 40 percent. Since the launch of reform and opening up in China, Egypt has always concerned itself with the tremendous achievements gained in China's economic development, has paid attention to drawing on the successful experiences China accumulated in its reform and opening policy and particularly in the establishment of special economic zones. In 1997 during former Egyptian Prime Minister Kamal al-Ganzuri's visit to China, both sides signed an agreement, under which Egypt and China would jointly establish a special economic zone in the northwest region of the Suez. Currently, this plan for a special economic zone has entered the stage from blueprint to infrastructure construction. The Egyptian side hopes that the Suez special economic zone will become an immortal evidence of Egypt-China friendly cooperation. In order to more extensively attract foreign capital to develop the economy, the Egyptian government has offered a preferential policy for attracting capital and it expressed the particular hope that more Chinese enterprises and companies would come to invest in Egypt and develop industries. Egypt has gladly taken note of the fact that due to the influence of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Ministerial Conference Beijing 2000, the Chinese government encourages enterprises interested in investing in Egypt, at the same time, Egypt also hopes that an Egypt trade and investment center will be built in China this year.
As we look forward to the new century, we find that the prospect for the development of Chinese-Egyptian friendship is bright. The Ambassador has put forward many proposals of insight and feasibility. With a view to expanding bilateral economic and trade relations and understanding and contacts among entrepreneurs, he expressed the hope for the holding of various types of forums, increasing cooperation in different fields and expanding ways for the exchange of information, so as to create more opportunities for cooperation between the two countries in the field economy, trade, science, technology, culture and journalism. The Ambassador predicted that there would be great progress in economic and trade cooperation between Egypt and China in the near future. This view of his is based on the following considerations: first, Chinese enterprises have begun to show interest in the petroleum, cotton and some other products of Egypt; second, the Egyptian government is adopting various measures to strive to expand the export of commodities; third, it is anticipated that there will be a general growth in the demand for imported commodities in various parts of China this year. Galal maintained that since both Egypt and China have a long history, splendid culture and many historical sites and places of interest, therefore the two countries have ample and good conditions for the development of tourism. In the cultural and journalist fields, the Ambassador hoped that on the basis of the existing extensive bilateral exchanges, Egyptian information departments and Chinese news media would further expand mutual visits and exchanges, so as to pave ways and build bridges for enhancing understanding and deepening friendship between the Egyptian and Chinese peoples.
Dr. Galal, 58, was graduated from the Political Science and International Relationship Department of Cairo University, he is interested and accomplished in Chinese culture and China's foreign relationship. In 1998 he was appointed ambassador to China. While working in China, he has visited over 20 Chinese provinces and autonomous regions and many Chinese cities outside Beijing. He showed particular admiration and respect for Mao Zedong, founder of New China, and toured Shaoshan, the hometown of Mao Zedong. In order to get a deeper understanding of the origin of Chinese culture and history, he visited the Confucian residence...Through his visits to various parts of China, particularly visits to western regions in the process of implementing large-scale development, he deeply felt the far-sight and sagacity and wise decisions of the Chinese leaders. He predicted that a great industrial revitalization and economic tide will be sprouting and surging in various parts of China, China's development prospect knows no bounds.
(People's Daily 05/29/2001)