Bujumbura - The Vice-President of the Republic of China, Li Younchao, is in Burundi for a two-day visit. At his arrival to the International Airport of Bujumbura late on Wednesday evening, Li was received by the Burundian Vice-President, Gaston Sindimwo, and the Foreign Affairs Minister, Alain Aimé Nyamitwe.
None of the Chinese or Burundi delegations spoke to the media, but according to Li's programme, he is planning to meet Burundian President Pierre Nkurunziza and his two deputies. Sources close to the Burundian authorities told the African News Agency (ANA) that Li Younchao would be talking with President Nkurunziza on "how to strengthen the cooperation between the two countries".
This is the first visit of such a Chinese high ranking figure to Burundi since 1963 when cooperation between the two countries began. Friendship and co-operation between the world superpower and the small Great Lakes nation have increased markedly since 2015 when the European Union and the United States halted direct aid to Burundi.
The sanctions were motivated by the controversy over the decision of President Nkurunziza to bid for a third term in office. China, in collaboration with Russia, have on a number of occasions vetoed decisions and sanctions against Burundi during UN Security Council sessions, this as the United Nations attempted to address the constitutional crisis wrought by Nkurunziza's presidential bid.
China has also intervened in various sectors like health, energy, public infrastructures and education, while Li will be visiting the presidential palace where construction work is underway, underpinned by Chinese support. The Chinese Vice President also plans to visit the Polytechnic School of Kigobe in Bujumbura, one of the schools recently built by the Republic of China.
- African News Agency (ANA)