Bilateral relations between Egypt and China

By Magdy Amer
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Today, January 21, 2016
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Egyptian Ambassador to China Magdy Amer [Photo/China Today] 

Relations between Egypt and China are not only the result of the modern era; they are rooted in history. There is no doubt that the similarities and rapprochement between the two civilizations show that their association originated long ago. Their links since ancient times were among the most important factors that helped to deepen and consolidate present relations and exchanges between the two countries. Both have ancient civilizations built on agriculture. They are aware of the strong connection and reverence their peoples have for their homeland and its soil. Neither has displayed colonial or expansionist tendencies and their relations with neighboring countries have always been peaceful and neighborly. As the two civilizations were associated in the past, the two countries are now linked by ties of friendship, cooperation, and exchanges based on mutual benefit, whether in bilateral relations or in cooperation at the international level.

READ: A new milestone in Sino-Egyptian relations

As the two countries share many common interests, they should expand their cooperation and exchanges. China has, in recent years, become an exporter of investments, having formerly long been an investment destination. It is consequently looking for suitable markets and areas in this respect. Egypt, with its strategically important location and potential as regards physical and human resources, is one of the most suitable destinations for Chinese investment.

While China is looking for markets in which to invest, Egypt is at the same time attracting foreign investment in order to revive its economy. Chinese investments enjoy a big advantage because they could be described as “friendly to the environment and society.” China lays great store on maintaining development of the countries that receive its investments, protecting their social environments, and taking care not to drain their resources. Furthermore China is ready to transfer its technology, offer skills training, and use the local workforce. All these are advantages that promote a preference for Chinese investments.

As for China, it pays particular attention to Africa, and is keen to consolidate its ties of friendship and cooperation with African countries. Egypt is indeed the gateway to the African continent. Egypt is associated with African countries through agreements on trade exchanges and customs exemptions. These create many investment and industrialization advantages in Egypt as regards exports to African markets. Egypt is also close to the European market, which is one of the main destinations for Chinese exports. Projects and investments in Egypt could provide China with a springboard for the export of its goods and products to Europe.

Egypt and China also have a common interest in joining hands to address the threat of terrorism, which is no longer confined to the Middle East. Both countries support political and diplomatic efforts in the international arena because they have the same objectives: to achieve security, peace, and stability in the world; adopt the principle of resolving differences and problems through peaceful means and non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries; and to commit to the principles of international law and work under the umbrella of the United Nations. The latter is especially true in light of the growing role China plays in the international political arena of settling disputes and resolving differences. As a neutral intermediary. China works according to the principles of its foreign policy of non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries. The country respects the sovereignty of others and works under the United Nations umbrella, a stance which Egypt shares, particularly as Egypt attained last October a non-permanent seat in the UN Security Council for the two years from 2016 to 2017, representing the continent of Africa.

There is no doubt that relations between China and Egypt have the potential for further development and prosperity, evident in their mutual presidential visits. These began in December 2014 with a state visit by President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to China. This was followed by a second visit in September of 2015 to take part in China’s celebrations of the 70th anniversary of the Chinese People’s War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression and the Anti-Fascist War. The event included the participation of a contingent from the Egyptian army in the military parade held by the Chinese army to mark the occasion. The visit of President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi to China witnessed many fruitful meetings with President Xi Jinping, Premier Li Keqiang, and Chairman Zhang Dejiang of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress. These meetings resulted in the signing of a document upgrading the relations between the two countries to the level of a comprehensive strategic partnership. That visit, as with so many important events, reflected the firm resolve of both sides to expand their cooperation to the optimum extent. During the visit, the two sides signed seven governmental agreements in the fields of space, new and renewable energy, economy, and trade cooperation, among others.

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