China and African countries will certainly become closer cooperative partners through cooperation in the Belt and Road initiative, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said.
The official made the remarks to the media here on Tuesday as he concluded his first New Year visit to four African countries including Rwanda, Angola, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.
Wang said that Africa has always been the first destination for a Chinese foreign minister's visit during each new year for the past 28 years. "It's a good tradition that shows the international community that China always stands together with its African brothers," he said.
He said that no matter how China has developed, economically and politically, China always seeks a partnership with Africa built on mutual trust and sincere cooperation.
Briefing on his visit to the four African nations, Wang said that leaders of the countries had all sent their congratulations to the success of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China. They also hoped to draw on China's development experience because they appreciated the great achievements in China's development, he said.
He said that as African countries are trying to diversify their economies and shift from a development mode that relies on raw materials and resources exports, China will have great strength in helping them achieve the economic diversification and industrialization goals.
"In response to Africa's strong request, China will later this year host the summit of Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing," Wang said, adding that leaders of the four nations he visited are ready to attend the event and they have also shown great interest in the Belt and Road initiative proposed by China.
"African countries shall not be excluded from the initiative, rather they could play a very important role in pushing forward the initiative," he said.
China and Africa last held the FOCAC summit in late 2015 in Johannesburg, South Africa, which has served as a major force driving China-Africa cooperation in various areas in recent years.
"I believe, through efforts by both sides, the Beijing FOCAC summit this year will be another historical event," Wang said.
During his visit Tuesday to Sao Tome and Principe, the last leg of his New Year visit in Africa, Wang met the country's President Evaristo Carvalho and Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada.
Carvalho said he is convinced the resumption of diplomatic relations with China was the right decision the Sao Tome and Principe government made. He assured that the country will adhere wholeheartedly to the one-China policy, and looked forward to ever deepening bilateral friendly cooperation.
Trovoada said the fact that China is ready to develop friendly relations with Sao Tome and Principe shows once again that China treats all countries on an equal footing, regardless of their size, and that China is a sincere friend and reliable partner of Africa.
He said that cooperation with China will help his country onto a path of sustainable development.
For his part, Wang said that Sao Tome and Principe's decision to resume diplomatic relations with China serves the interests of the country and its people, adding that both countries should beef up friendly cooperation for mutual benefits.