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China-Egypt Ties, Model of South-south Cooperation
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Fifty years after China and Egypt established diplomatic relations, the China-Egypt ties have become a model of China-Arab, China-African relations and South-South cooperation, as Chinese President Hu Jintao put it.


In his May 30 congratulatory message to Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, Hu said that the ties forged between our two great nations 50 years ago opened the door for China to start friendly and cooperative relations with Egypt, Arab and African countries.


On May 30 of 1956, China and Egypt officially declared the establishment of diplomatic relations, which made Egypt the first Arab and African country to have diplomatic ties with China.


Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Wu Sike shared the same view by portraying bilateral ties between China and Egypt as "good brothers, good friends and good partners."


Wu's remarks came days before Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao kicks off his seven-nation African tour on June 17, with the first leg in Egypt.


In an interview with Xinhua recently, Wu said that Wen's two-day visit, the first since he became China's premier in 2003, was a key part of series of activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the establishment of Sino-Egyptian diplomatic ties.


For the past 50 years, the relations between China and Egypt have been improving all the time with significant achievements on political, economic and cultural fronts as well as bilateral cooperation on the international arena.


On the political front, regular visits and various kinds of contacts by leaders of both sides have notably increased mutual understanding and generated more consensuses.


Of great significance was a visit by Egyptian President Mubarak to Beijing in April 1999, during which Mubarak and then Chinese President Jiang Zemin signed a joint communiqué declaring the establishment of the China-Egypt relations of strategic cooperation.


Of equal significance was a visit by President Hu to Egypt in January 2004, during which Hu and Mubarak reached wide consensus on deepening the bilateral ties in an all-round way.


The ambassador said that both sides will use the upcoming visit by Premier Wen to review bilateral ties during the last 50 years and discuss means to deepen the China-Egypt relations of strategic cooperation.


Wu said that the Chinese people and their leaders valued highly of great efforts and contributions made by Mubarak, who have visited China eight times, to improve bilateral ties.


On economic and trade front, good complementation between the two economies entailed great potentials for further cooperation and the two sides are keen to carry out more cooperation on this front.


Trade volume between the two countries jumped by 36 percent in 2005 over the previous year to US$2.1 billion, with the balance in favor of China, Wu said.


He added that with a total investment of US$220 million, China has 186 projects in Egypt, among them a special economic zone in Suez, some 120 km west of Cairo, is a symbol of bilateral economic cooperation.


On the cultural front, China and Egypt, both known for ancient civilizations and a long history, have intensified their cooperation in recent years.


In 2002, a Chinese cultural center was built in Egypt, which was the first of its kind in the Middle East. Following it, several famed Cairo-based universities have set up the Chinese language department or the China research center, said Wu.


He revealed that Cairo University is planning to establish a Confucian institute, which would be the first of its kind in the Arab world.


On the international arena, Egypt and China have long since supported each other based on mutual understanding and respect.


China sees Egypt as a key regional player and a major partner for China both in the Arab world and in Africa, said Wu, citing Egypt's great role in pushing forward the establishment of an Arab- Chinese cooperation forum in 2004 when President Hu visited Egypt.


Wu said that during Wen's visit, China and Egypt are expected to sign some seven bilateral agreements, which cover political, economic and cultural aspects.


"Premier Wen's visit is set to greatly boost bilateral ties," Wu asserted.


(Xinhua News Agency June 16, 2006)

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