Leaders of China, Republic of Congo pledge to deepen cooperation

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Chinese President Xi Jinping(L) meets with his Congolese counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, March 29, 2013.

Chinese President Xi Jinping(L) meets with his Congolese counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo, March 29, 2013. [Xinhua]

Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Congolese counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso agreed Friday to make joint efforts in building and developing a comprehensive cooperative partnership of solidarity and mutual assistance between the two nations.

Xi told Sassou Nguesso during their meeting that he received a warm welcome from the Congolese government and people upon his arrival in the central African nation, which reflected the deep traditional friendship between the two nations.

Xi said China and the Republic of Congo always treat each other sincerely, carry out friendly cooperation, and firmly support each other on major issues concerning their core interests.

On the occasion of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the bilateral diplomatic ties next year, Xi expressed the hope that the two sides will make joint efforts and deepen their friendship and mutual trust, so as to lift the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership of solidarity and mutual assistance to a new level and make a new stride forward.

The Chinese leader said Beijing accords great importance to Brazzaville's demand for cooperation in certain areas, and will continue to offer aid within its capabilities.

He said China will try its best to facilitate major bilateral cooperation projects at an early date, and encourage capable Chinese enterprises to participate in the construction of special economic zones of the Republic of Congo.

For his part, Sassou Nguesso said bilateral relations have made notable progress since the two countries established diplomatic ties, and that their cooperation in various fields has produced fruitful outcomes.

The Congolese side appreciates China's valuable assistance to its economic and social development, and hopes to enhance cooperation with China in such areas as road and railway construction, he said.

The Congolese president said China respects Africa, helps Africa, and does not interfere in the internal affairs of African countries.

"The so-called China's neo-colonialism in Africa is ill-disposed," Sassou Nguesso said, adding that the African people would not be misled by such allegations as they fully understood what colonialism is through their own history.

The African people support Africa-China cooperation, and hope China would play a greater role in promoting peace, stability and development in Africa, he said.

After hearing Sassou Nguesso's introduction of Africa's situation, Xi pointed out that unity and cooperation provide an important foundation for Africa's revival.

"Division would only lead to chaos, and chaos would only plunge Africa into backwardness," Xi said.

Africa must seek strength from unity, Xi said, stressing that developing friendly cooperation with African nations has always been an important cornerstone in China's foreign policy and a long-term and steadfast strategic choice for China.

In the new era, China will not change its policy of boosting unity and cooperation with Africa, or its determination to promote Africa's peace and development, or its position to support Africa's pursuit of strength through unity, Xi said.

China will always be a reliable friend and a sincere partner of African nations, and stands ready to continue to reinforce and deepen the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, said the Chinese leader.

The two heads of state witnessed the signing of a host of cooperation agreements following their talks.

Later in the day, the Chinese leader delivered a speech in the parliament of the Republic of Congo.

Xi arrived in Brazzaville at noon Friday for a state visit, the last leg of his first trip abroad after he took office as China's new president earlier this month.

Xi's Brazzaville visit is also the first by a Chinese head of state since the two nations established diplomatic ties in 1964.

Over the past decades, China and the Republic of Congo have had fruitful cooperation in political, economic and trade, and cultural sectors.

China is now the Republic of Congo's largest trading partner. Two-way trade between the two countries jumped to 5 billion U.S. dollars in 2012 from 290 million dollars in 2002.

Xi flew in from Durban, South Africa, after attending the fifth summit of BRICS nations -- Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. Before that, Xi visited Russia, Tanzania and South Africa.

Xi will wrap up his four-nation trip on Saturday.

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