Note: This column mainly includes countries along the Belt and Road and countries that have signed cooperation agreements with China on Belt and Road Initiative.

Relationship between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Congo (Congo) grew closer in 2013.

The two countries enjoyed frequent political exchanges and enhanced mutual trust. In March, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Congo. Also in March, President of Congo Denis Sassou-N'guesso sent a letter of congratulations to President Xi Jinping on his election as President of the People's Republic of China. In April and July, President Sassou-N'guesso sent letters of condolences to President Xi following the earthquake in Lushan County, Sichuan Province and the earthquake in Gansu Province respectively. In June, President of the Economic and Social Council Jean-Marie Tassoua visited China. In October, Minister at Presidency in Charge of National Defense Charles Richard Mondjo visited China. Secretary-General Pierre Ngolo of the ruling Congolese Labor Party visited China in November.

Economic cooperation and trade proceeded smoothly. The China-Congo Friendship Hospital built with Chinese assistance was completed and handed over to Congo, the Marien Ngouabi University Library was put into use and the other projects with Chinese assistance such as well drilling, high school building and solar power were well underway. The Mengo potash project invested by a Chinese company went smoothly.

Cultural and educational cooperation continued to grow. The "Experience China" series of cultural events were held in Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of Congo. One of these events, the opening ceremony of Marien Ngouabi University Library's Chinese Section, was attended by President Xi Jinping during his visit to Congo.

President Xi Jinping Paid a State Visit to Congo

From 29 to 30 March, President Xi Jinping paid a state visit to Congo at the invitation of President Sassou-N'guesso. During the visit, President Xi had talks with President Sassou-N'guesso and delivered an important speech entitled "Jointly Compose New Chapters in the Friendship between the Chinese and African People" at the Parliament of Congo.

During the talks, President Xi said that China and Congo always treated each other with sincerity, engaged in friendly cooperation and firmly supported each other on major issues concerning their core interests. The year 2014 marks the 50th anniversary of the China-Congo diplomatic relations. President Xi hoped that the two sides would make joint efforts and deepen their friendship and mutual trust, so as to lift the comprehensive cooperative partnership of solidarity and mutual assistance to a new high and achieve new leapfrog development. President Xi also said that China accorded great importance to Congo's demand for cooperation in certain areas and would continue to provide assistance within its capabilities. China would try its best to facilitate the launching of major bilateral cooperation projects at an early date and encourage capable Chinese enterprises to participate in the construction of special economic zones in Congo.

President Sassou-N'guesso said that bilateral relations had made notable progress since the two countries established diplomatic ties and their cooperation in various fields had produced fruitful results. He said that Congo appreciated China's valuable assistance to its economic and social development and hoped to enhance cooperation with China in such areas as road and railway infrastructure. President Sassou-N'guesso also said that China respected Africa, helped Africa and did not interfere in the internal affairs of African countries. The so-called China's neo-colonialism in Africa is ill-disposed. The African people would not be misled by such allegations as they fully understood what colonialism was from their own experience. The African people supported Africa-China cooperation and hoped China would play a greater role in promoting peace, stability and development in Africa.

President Xi pointed out that unity and cooperation were the important foundation for Africa's revival. Division would only lead to chaos, and chaos would only plunge Africa into backwardness. Africa must seek strength from unity. Developing friendly relations and cooperation with African nations had always been an important cornerstone in China's foreign policy and a long-term and steadfast strategic choice of China. In the new era, China would never 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. China would always be a reliable friend and a sincere partner of African countries, and China stood 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.

The two heads of state witnessed the signing of a host of cooperation documents after their talks.

Editor: 曹家宁