Chinese President Jiang Zemin's first state visit to Nigeria beginning on Sunday serves as a major event in Sino-Nigerian relations.
The friendly relations between China and Nigeria has developed smoothly with unremitting efforts made by leaders of both countries since the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 1971.
Both as populous developing countries, China and Nigeria have cooperated in safeguarding world peace and opposing power politics.
China has firmly supported the Nigerian government in its efforts to defend national independence and invigorate domestic economy, while Nigeria has always taken the same stand with the Chinese government on such issues as human rights and Taiwan.
The stable development of political relations between China and Nigeria has provided a good opportunity for economic and technological cooperation between the two sides.
During Chinese Premier Li Peng's visit to Nigeria in May 1997, the two countries signed four documents on investment protection and cooperation in steel production, electric power generation facilities construction and the oil industry, which marked important progress in the economic and technological cooperation between the two sides.
In the year 2000, bilateral trade between the two sides amounted to a record high of 856 million U.S. dollars, with Chinese exports standing at 549 million dollars and imports at 307million. The rapid development of bilateral trade predicts a promising future of cooperation between the two countries.
In recent years, Sino-Nigerian cooperation in the establishment and operation of joint ventures in Nigeria has also made headway. In April 2000, a fishery enterprise with Chinese investment won a prize awarded by the Nigerian Fishing Industry Association. This was the first time an enterprise with Chinese investment won such a special honor, which the Nigerian Ministry for Agriculture and Natural Resources termed as "a model for foreign investments in Nigeria."
During his visit to China in August 2001, Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo met with Chinese President Jiang Zemin, who proposed on behalf of the Chinese government a new four-point initiative for boosting bilateral relations between China and Nigeria in the new century.
The proposal says the two sides should develop their relations on the following premises: to develop cooperation in the spirits of sincerity, friendship and mutual confidence; to honor the spirits of reciprocity, mutual benefit and common development; to enhance political consultations and strengthen mutual support in international affairs; and to adopt a long-term view to address the future.
Obasanjo spoke highly of Jiang's initiative, which he said would further strengthen the relations between the two countries in the new century.
During Obasanjo's visit, the two sides signed a series of documents on future cooperation such as a memorandum of understanding on cooperation and a trade agreement.
Ranking behind South Africa and Egypt, Nigeria has become the third largest trade partner of China in Africa. Major Chinese exports to Nigeria include light industrial, mechanical and electrical products, while major imports from Nigeria include oil, timber and cotton.
(Xinhua News Agency April 15, 2002)