By Kebba Jeffang Courtesy (Xinhua News Agency) –
Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday underscored the one-China principle as he hosted Gambian President Adama Barrow on his first China visit since diplomatic relations were resumed last year. The two countries established formal diplomatic links in 1974, but China suspended relations in 1995 when the West African country resumed so-called “diplomatic” ties with Taiwan. Gambia severed ties with Taiwan in 2013. “Upholding the one-China principle and the big picture of bilateral friendship, China and Gambia should understand and support each other on issues relating to core interests and major concerns, and be sincere friends and partners on an equal footing,” Xi said during the talks at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
Xi said Gambia’s decision to resume diplomatic relations with China is a “correct choice,” which follows the trend of the times and serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. Barrow said the resumption of diplomatic ties fully accords with the will of the Gambian people. He said the Gambian people respect the Chinese people, reaffirming that his country will firmly adhere to the one-China policy. Hailing the sound development of bilateral cooperation since the resumption of ties, Xi said such cooperation has brought tangible results to both peoples. Xi and Barrow agreed to map out future cooperation in their talks. Xi called on both sides to have closer exchanges between governments, political parties and legislative bodies and share experience in national governance. “China attaches importance to cooperation with Gambia in agriculture, electricity and infrastructure, and is willing to enhance Gambia’s capacity for self-development and sustainable development,” Xi told Barrow. Xi proposed more exchanges in culture, education, media, youth, women, health and tourism and joint efforts to build the Confucius Institute to consolidate the popular will of friendship between the two countries. “China is willing to increase cooperation with Gambia in security and to step up communication and coordination in international and regional affairs to contribute to peace and stability in West Africa,” Xi said. China aims to build a community with a shared future for mankind and will strengthen solidarity and partnership with developing countries including those from Africa, according to Xi. “China’s cooperation with foreign countries is not attached to any political string. The essence of China-Africa cooperation is to combine China’s development with that of Africa to realize win-win cooperation and mutual development,” Xi said. Barrow, who took office in February 2017, thanked Xi for extending him an invitation to visit China for the first time as a head of state. “It is a sign of support, a sign of giving confidence to our new administration,” Barrow told Xi. Expressing his gratitude to China for supporting Gambia in the 1970s, especially since the two countries resumed diplomatic relations, Barrow said his country cherishes the friendship with China and will never forget its assistance. China’s support in the areas of agriculture and health has greatly promoted the national development of Gambia and improved people’s livelihood, said Barrow, adding that he himself had received treatment by Chinese medical teams. Gambia stands ready to enhance cooperation in areas of the economy and trade, agriculture, electricity, infrastructure, education, tourism and people-to-people exchanges, and collaboration in international affairs, he said. Expressing his admiration for China’s achievements, Barrow said Gambia would like to learn from China’s reform and development experience and enhance its own capacity-building. He also said that Gambia is willing to take an active part in cooperation within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. Following the talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents on the setting up a Confucius Institute at the University of The Gambia as well as on cooperation in economy, trade, investment, technology, infrastructure construction and human resources development. Barrow arrived in Beijing on Wednesday for a week-long state visit. Besides Beijing, he will also visit the cities of Xiamen and Guangzhou.