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Backgrounder: Review of Sino-Gabonese Relations

Chinese President Hu Jintao will pay a state visit to Gabon on Feb. 1-3 at the invitation of his Gabonese counterpart, El Hadj Omar Bongo Ondimba, ahead of the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Following is a review of the development of the ties between the two countries:

On April 20, 1974, China established diplomatic relations with Gabon after the latter "severed diplomatic ties" with Taiwan authorities. Since then, friendly relations of cooperation between the two countries have developed rapidly and remarkable achievements have been made in the political, economic, diplomatic, cultural, educational and medical fields.

The Gabonese government has consistently adhered to the one-China policy and supported China's cause of reunification.

It firmly holds that the government of the People's Republic of China is the sole legal government representing the Chinese people as a whole, and that Taiwan is an inalienable part of China. 

Both governments have been working to develop their friendly and cooperative relations under the principles of mutual respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, non-interference in each other's internal affairs, non-aggression, equality and mutual benefit and peaceful coexistence.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 30 years ago, the two countries have had frequent exchanges of high-level visits, with the Gabonese president having visited China eight times.

Major cooperation projects have also been carried out between the two countries and they include the construction of health centers, hospitals, a primary school and the National Assembly building in Gabon and other key economic and technical cooperation programs.

The two sides have also actively cooperated in fishery, the pharmaceutical industry, forest development and timber processing. A number of Chinese companies have forged effective cooperation of mutual benefit with their Gabonese counterparts.

As a result, two-way trade amounted to 300 million US dollars in 2003, compared with 88 million dollars in 1994, making Gabon China's second largest trading partner in central and western Africa.

China's major exports to Gabon are textiles, electromechanical products, hardware and home appliances while its imports from the country mainly include timber, petroleum and manganese ores. An agreement on investment protection between the two countries has also been signed.

In the field of education, China has been providing Gabonese students with scholarships for higher education since 1975 and now 11 scholarships are offered to 48 Gabonese students each year.

In April 1986, the two countries signed a protocol on sending Chinese teachers to work in Gabon's high schools. 

(Xinhua News Agency February 1, 2004)

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