China’s ties to Gam­bia set to grow For­eign Min­is­ter Wang Yi meets with coun­ter­part Ou­sainou Dar­boe

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - TOP NEWS - By LI XIAOKUN lix­i­aokun@chi­

China vowed on Tues­day to beef up co­op­er­a­tion on in­fra­struc­ture con­struc­tion, agri­cul­ture and tourism with Gam­bia, the West African na­tion that re­sumed diplo­matic ties with Bei­jing 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 Mon­day to Sun­day. 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 Tues­day.

“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.

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