Chinese FM meets Ethiopian Deputy PM
Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang (L) shakes hands with African Union (AU) Commission Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat after the eighth China-African Union (AU) Strategic Dialogue at the AU headquarters in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, on Jan. 11, 2023. (Xinhua/Wang Ping)
ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang met with Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Demeke Mekonnen in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, Tuesday.
Mekonnen said that the Chinese Foreign Minister's first visit to Ethiopia at the beginning of the new year is of great significance to bilateral relations as well as the wider Africa-China relations.
Ethiopia and China enjoy traditional friendship. The two countries have always respected each other and enjoyed strong bilateral relations, said Mekonnen as he emphasized that China has provided vital assistance to Ethiopia in overcoming challenges and achieving economic and social development.
He said China has upheld principles and spoken out for justice in international affairs, and firmly supported Ethiopia in safeguarding its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Ethiopia will bear this in mind and look forward to upgrading bilateral relations in all aspects and expanding practical cooperation with China in fields including digital economy, agriculture and capacity-building, he said.
Qin said that his visit to Africa and Ethiopia on his first overseas trip after taking office reflects the special importance of Africa and China-Ethiopia relations in China's diplomacy.
Noting that China and Ethiopia are comprehensive strategic partners of cooperation, Qin said since the establishment of diplomatic ties more than half a century ago, the two sides have firmly supported each other in safeguarding their respective core interests and major concerns and exploring development paths suited to their national conditions, with strategic mutual trust steadily growing.
Thanks to the solid political foundation and profound public support of both sides, Qin said, the cooperation between China and Ethiopia in various fields has developed rapidly and yielded fruitful results.
He said Ethiopia has actively participated in the Belt and Road Initiative and that China has been Ethiopia's largest source of foreign direct investment and largest trading partner for many years running.
Qin noted that a large number of key cooperation projects, such as the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway, the Addis Ababa Light Rail, the Addis Ababa Riverside Green Development Project and the African Leadership Academy, have been completed or implemented smoothly.
Qin suggested that the two sides should take the implementation of the "Nine Projects" put forward at the Eighth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in November 2021, and the outcomes of the Belt and Road Initiative as opportunities to synergize their development strategies, expand cooperation in various fields, create more new growth areas and bring more benefits to the two peoples.
Following the talks, the two sides signed a number of cooperation documents, including a memorandum of understanding on political consultation between the two foreign ministries.