Xi's visit to Republic of Congo will strengthen ties

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail CRI, March 19, 2013
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The new Chinese president Xi Jinping is expected to start his first state visits later this week.

This will take him to Russia, Tanzania, and South Africa.

But it's the visit to the Republic of Congo marking a first, not just for Xi Jinping, but for any Chinese president to visit the country since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949.

"China and Republic of Congo have always maintained good relations. This will be the first time that a Chinese president to visit my country, it proves our strong and lasting friendship. "

That was the Congolese Ambassador to China, Daniel Owassa speaking in an exclusive interview with CRI about their friendship with China.

After Wenchuan's earthquake five years ago, the Republic of Congo donated 1 million US dollars of aid to China, despite suffering from political instability itself and boasting a less-developed economy.

Then, In 2010, Republic of Congo built a school in China's northwestern Yushu Region which was hit by another strong quake, to help children continue their studies.

"I visited Yushu in July, 2010. I found there were many problems to be solved. We could imagine the demand of Chinese people. We could not wait to help China when we are rich. We are still friends in adversity. So we provided what we could do to help our Chinese friends. In the future, the government and the people in my country will also help China if needed. "

Statistics also show that bilateral trade hit a record high in 2011, reaching 5.1 billion US dollars - the second among 24 central and western African countries, and the 7th on the continent.

Besides economic and trade cooperation, Ambassador Owassa also attaches great importance to people-to-people exchanges.

"We have discussed with Chinese officials about opening a Confucius Institute in the Republic of Congo. In the past, African and Asian people learnt about each other via foreign media, which only conveys the message they choose. Now we have opportunities and platforms to learn about each other and communicate directly, we can better understand each other."

At the same time, the ambassador also says there are some areas of the ties, which could need a bit more effort.

"Another thing is transportation, especially that there are not many direct flights from China to Africa. We hope there will be more of them to facilitate our visits and communication. "

China and the Republic of Congo signed a strategic cooperation accord in 2006 when the Chinese Premier at the time, Wen Jiabao visited the African country.

Next year, the two countries will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship.

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