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China’s ties with Gambia set to grow

Li Xiaokun
Updated: Aug 2,2017 10:03 AM     China Daily

Foreign Minister Wang Yi meets with his Gambian counterpart Ousainou Darboe in Beijing, Aug 1, 2017.[Photo/Xinhua]

China vowed on Aug 1 to beef up cooperation on infrastructure construction, agriculture and tourism with Gambia, the West African nation that resumed diplomatic ties with China last year.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi made the remarks when meeting his Gambian counterpart Ousainou Darboe at the Foreign Ministry.

Darboe is on a China visit from July 31 to Aug 6. It is his first official visit here after Gambian President Adama Barrow took office in January. He also met State Councilor Yang Jiechi, China’s top diplomat, later on Aug 1.

“Since China and Gambia resumed diplomatic ties in March 2016, bilateral relations have come back to the right track, opening up broad prospects for mutually beneficial cooperation,” Wang said.

China formed diplomatic ties with Gambia in 1974. But in 1995, Gambia cut those ties and shifted to Chinese Taipei.

In late 2013, it said it would cut “diplomatic” ties with Taiwan. A statement from the Gambian president’s office said the decision was based on national strategic considerations. After learning of the decision, China said it had not contacted Gambia beforehand.

In February, Barrow vowed to follow the one-China policy of his predecessor.

President Xi Jinping sent a vice-chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference as his special envoy to attend Barrow’s inauguration.

China will deepen mutual political trust with Gambia, consolidate cooperation and expand civil exchanges, Wang said. China is Gambia’s top trading partner, the Foreign Ministry said.

Wang said the two countries will also beef up cooperation in international and regional affairs, lifting ties “to a higher level”.

Darboe told Wang that Banjul will “firmly adhere to the one-China policy” and expects to enhance pragmatic cooperation with China.

He said Gambia appreciates China’s support and assistance in reconstruction of its economy and society.

Gambia speaks highly of President Xi’s Africa policies and major cooperation measures China raised at the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in 2015, he added.

After the meeting, they signed an agreement for a consultation mechanism between the two ministries.

Former Chinese special envoy on African affairs Liu Guijin said that due to a lack of diplomatic relations in the past, Gambia missed a period of rapid development in China’s assistance to Africa since the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was established in 2000.

“But now Gambia has good relations with Beijing. So it will benefit from measures to help Africa raised at the Johannesburg summit,” Liu said. Gambia now also will see increasing Chinese investment, he said.

As for intraministry consultation, Liu said the Foreign Ministry formerly set up such links only with large countries. “But now we are setting up the mechanism regardless of the size of the nation.”

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