1. General picture of bilateral relations between China and Gabon
Gabon had in December 1960 "established diplomatic relations" with the Taiwan authority and "severed the diplomatic relations" with it in March 1974. On April 20 of that year China established diplomatic relations with Gabon and ever since the friendly relations of cooperation between the two countries saw a favorable development. The two sides scored effective achievements in political, economic, diplomatic, cultural and educational aspects and in medical and health work as well.
2. Political relations
Chinese leaders and officials who paid visits to Gabon include: Chen Muhua, vice premier of the State Council (August 1978), Gong Dafei, vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (October 1981), Zhao Ziyang, premier of the State Council (January 1983), Wu Xueqian, vice premier of the State Council (March 1990), Qian Qichen, member of the State Council and minister of foreign affairs (January 1993), Li Lanqing, vice premier of the State Council (November 1995), Tian Cengpei, vice minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (April 1996), Li Peng, premier of the State Council (May 1997), Chen Jinhua, vice chairman of the NPPCC (July 2000), Tang Jiaxuan, minister of foreign affairs (January 2001), and Wei Jianxing, member of the Central CPC Standing Committee, etc.
Leaders and officials who visited China from Gabon include: President El Hadj Omar Bongo (all together eight times of visit respectively in October 1974, June 1975, May 1977, December 1978, October 1983, February 1987, May 1991 and August 1996), Konighi Okoumab D'okwatsegue, minister in charge of foreign affairs and cooperation of the presidential office (June to July 1974), Edmond N'Kogho, chairman of Economic and Social Council (June 1994), Marcel-Eloi Chamberier-Rahandi, speaker of the National Assembly (July 1994), Prime Minister Casimir Oye Mba (September 1994), Jean Ping, minister of foreign affairs and cooperation and in charge of the affairs for French-speaking countries (April 2000), Ali Bongo, minister of national defence (April 2001), Louis Gaston Mayila, chairman of Economic and Social Council (November 2001), and Minister of Human Rights and State Affairs Paul MBA Abessole (September 2002).
From October 10-12, 2000, Jean Ping, Gabon minister of foreign affairs and cooperation and in charge of the affairs for the French-speaking countries together with Jean-Franois Ndongou, representative at ministerial level in charge of finance, economy and privatization came to attend the Beijing 2000 Ministerial Meeting of the Sino-African Cooperation Forum.
On November 18, 2002, the newly appointed Chinese Ambassador to the Republic of Gabon Fan Zhenshui presented the credential to Omar Bongo, president of the Republic of Gabon.
3. Economy and trade relations and economic and technological cooperation
The major projects aided by China for Gabon include: health-work center, primary school and national assembly building. The inaugurating ceremony for the construction of assembly building aided by China was set off in January 2003. The two sides also have cooperation and implementation in many such productive projects as fishery, pharmacy, forest development and timber processing and so on. The Chinese companies as China Construction, China Broadcasting and some other international companies from Dalian, Tianjin and Jiangsu have developed cooperation of mutual benefits one after another with Gabon. The year of 2002 witnessed a bilateral trade value to reach US$237 million between the two countries, of which the Chinese exports occupied US$4.7 million. The major exports from China to Gabon are: textile, mechanic and electric products, while the imports mainly include timbers, petroleum and manganese ores. The two countries signed an Agreement on Investment Protection Between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Gabon.
In December 2002, the two governments of China and Gabon signed an agreement for China to provide the latter with non-interest loans.
4. Other exchanges and cooperation
Since 1975 China started to provide Gabon with scholarship for higher education and now a quota of 11 scholarships is provided every year with a total of 48 students from Gabon to study at present in China. In April 1986, the two countries signed a protocol for China to send teachers to teach in Gabon, in line of which China has now sent 5 teachers to teach in the high schools in Gabon.
In June 1975, the two governments signed a protocol for China to dispatch medical team to work in Gabon with the work being carried out in 1977, and the medical team with 27 personnel in total is working respectively in Libreville and Franceville.
In March 1979, a military friendly delegation headed by Liao Hansheng, political commissar of the Nanjing Military Zone paid a visit to Gabon. In August 1993, a military delegation headed by Lieutenant General Zhang Taiheng, commander of the Jinan Military Zone paid a visit to Gabon. In September 1997, General Idriss Ngari, Gabon minister of national defence and security, immigration and post and communications visited China. In March 1999, a Chinese military delegation headed by Qian Shugen, deputy chief of the general staff visited Gabon. In March 2001, Ali Bongo, Gabon minister of national defence visited China. In September 2002, a Chinese military delegation headed by Jiang Futang, political commissar of the Shenyang Military Zone paid a visit to the Republic of Gabon.
In November 2002, Deng Nan, vice minister of science and technology visited Gabon. In February 2003, René Ndemezo, Gabon minister in connection with the assembly visited China. In March of the same year Martin Mabala, Gabon minister resident of the prime minister's office in charge of supervision, examination, anti-poverty and anti-corruption affairs paid a visit to China.
5. Important documents
The Joint Communique on the Establishment of the Diplomatic Relations Between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Gabon (April 20, 1974):
In consideration of the mutual benefits and respective wishes of the two countries, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Gabon on friendly consultation unanimously decided to establish the diplomatic relations at the ambassadorial level and send ambassadors to each other.
The government of the Republic of Gabon recognizes that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole and legal government representing the Chinese people as a whole.
The governments of the two countries agreed to develop friendly and cooperative relations on the principles of mutual respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty, mutual non-aggression, non-interference in each other's internal affairs and equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.
(Chinese Foreign Ministry October 10, 2006)