Top legislator pledges stronger bilateral ties with Nigeria

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Chinese top legislator Zhang Dejiang on Wednesday pledged to build stronger bilateral relations with Nigeria during an official visit to the West African country.

Zhang Dejiang (L), chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), meets with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan in Abuja, Nigeria, Sept. 18, 2013. [Photo: Xinhua/Yao Dawei]

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of China's National People's Congress (NPC), who was visiting Nigeria from Tuesday to Thursday, made the pledge during his talks with Nigerian leaders.

At a meeting with Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan, Zhang said China and Nigeria have developed fraternal friendship under the principles of sincerity, equality and mutual support since they forged diplomatic ties over 40 years ago.

"China is happy to see Nigeria's achievements in economic and social development," Zhang said, adding that China appreciates Nigeria's long-standing adherence to the one-China policy as well as its support to China on issues concerning Taiwan and Tibet.

China stands firmly behind Nigeria in its efforts to defend national sovereignty and security and supports Nigeria to play an active role in African and international affairs, Zhang said.

He said he expects the two countries to strengthen high-level exchanges, deepen political mutual trust, promote pragmatic cooperation and realize advantage complementation to achieve common development.

He also hoped the two sides would expand cultural and social communication, cement the foundation of people-to-people friendship and strengthen cooperation in international and regional affairs to safeguard common interests.

"China attaches great importance to developing relations with Africa and expects Nigeria to play a constructive role in promoting China-Africa relations," the top Chinese legislator said.

China is willing to work with Nigeria and other African countries to fully implement the results of Chinese President Xi Jinping's African tour and those of the fifth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation to make greater progress in advancing China-Africa relations.

Noting that China is a reliable friend and partner of African countries including Nigeria, Jonathan said the two countries enjoy broad common interests, great potential for cooperation and bright prospects.

He thanked China for its support and assistance to Nigeria and said his country is willing to expand communication and cooperation with China in all fields to advance bilateral ties as well as China-Africa relationship.

During separate talks with President of the Senate David Mark and Speaker of the House of Representatives Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, Zhang said China's NPC and the Nigerian National Assembly have played important roles in the political life of their own countries and he hoped the two legislative installments could maintain high-level contacts, share experience in lawmaking, supervision, opening-up, advancing economy and improving people's livelihood.

"I also expect the two sides to begin frank dialogue, learn from each other and promote the two countries' pragmatic cooperation of the legislative bodies to provide sound legal protection for the two countries' personnel exchanges and bring more benefits to the two peoples," Zhang said.

Mark and Tambuwal expressed their confidence in the friendly relations between the two countries' legislative bodies and voiced willingness to strengthen cooperation with China's NPC at various levels.

While meeting with Bamanga Tukur, chairman of Nigeria's ruling People's Democratic Party (PDP), Zhang briefed him on the history, governance ideas and construction of the Communist Party of China (CPC).

He regarded the exchanges between the two nations' ruling parties an important component of bilateral ties, saying that strengthening communication and cooperation between the ruling parties will not only boost the two nations' development but also help deepen China-Nigeria relationship.

Tukur, for his part, said the CPC has gathered rich governance experience through its long-term practice.

He expressed the PDP's willingness to strengthen dialogue and communication with the CPC in order to learn from the latter useful ways in state governance and party construction.

During his stay in Nigeria, Zhang also participated in a series of cultural activities under the theme of "Approaching Chinese Culture."

He unveiled Nigeria's newly-built Chinese Culture Center, and attended the ceremony of donating a Chinese room to the Nigerian National Library.

Zhang also visited the project of Nigeria's national public safety network, built by Chinese multinational telecommunications equipment and systems firm ZTE.

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