China and Eritrea gear up to celebrate 30 years of diplomatic ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with President Isaias Afwerki of the State of Eritrea at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 15, 2023. Picture: Xinhua

Chinese President Xi Jinping holds talks with President Isaias Afwerki of the State of Eritrea at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, capital of China, May 15, 2023. Picture: Xinhua

Published May 17, 2023


China and Eritrea both expressed opposition to hegemonic and interference acts as the two leaders met on Monday.

At the invitation of Chinese President Xi Jinping, President Isaias Afwerki of the State of Eritrea is paying a state visit to China. A welcome ceremony was held before the two held talks at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

During their talks, Xi stressed that China appreciates Eritrea's long-term adherence to an independent foreign policy, adding that China firmly supports Eritrea to explore development paths suited to its national conditions and to safeguard its own sovereignty, security and development interests.

China opposes external interference in Eritrea's internal affairs and the imposition of unilateral sanctions against Eritrea, Xi told Afwerki.

He said China is willing to exchange experiences in governance with Eritrea, and called on the two sides to continue to support each other, jointly oppose unilateralism and bullying and safeguard the common interests of the two countries and the developing countries.

President Afwerki pointed out that the African countries are still facing hegemonism and various unfair and unjust treatments.

“China is a great country,” said the Eritrean president. He stressed China has always proposed a Chinese solution to solve the challenges facing the world, and upholds fairness and justice.

The international community believes that China will make greater contributions to human development and progress, as well as international fairness and justice, Afwerki added.

30 years of diplomatic ties

China-Eritrea relations were elevated to a strategic partnership in 2022. The upcoming May 24 marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries.

Noting that China and Eritrea enjoy a traditional friendship, President Xi said that over the past 30 years, China and Eritrea have always trusted and supported each other.

Xi stressed that China views and develops bilateral relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, and is a trusted friend of Eritrea.

Against the backdrop of the fast-changing international situation with many uncertainties, the development of China-Eritrea relations is not only in the common and long-term interests of both countries, but also of great significance to the maintenance of regional peace and international justice, he added.

Xi vowed to deepen bilateral close and friendly relations and promote the strategic partnership between China and Eritrea to a new level.

He pointed out that China is willing to work with Eritrea to promote cooperation by jointly building frameworks and platforms, including the Belt and Road Initiative, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and the Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa.

China encourages and supports Chinese-funded enterprises to invest in Eritrea, and is willing to discuss strengthening infrastructure construction and cooperation in telecommunications, agriculture, mining and other fields, Xi added.

The Chinese president also thanked the Eritrean side for the support and assistance it provided for the evacuation of Chinese citizens from Sudan recently.

This once again highlighted the deep friendship between China and Eritrea of sharing weal and woe, Xi said, urging the two sides to have closer people-to-people exchanges.

Afwerki, 77, has served as the president of Eritrea since 1993. He has visited China many times.

Recalling his special relationship with China for more than half a century, Afwerki told Xi that the Eritrean people will never forget the valuable moral and material support provided by the Chinese people in Eritrea’s winning of independence and liberation.

Afwerki also voiced his country’s willingness to strengthen cooperation with China, saying he believes that Eritrea-China strategic partnership will help Eritrea achieve national economic and social development.

Building closer China-Africa community with a shared future

Xi highlighted that China is willing to work with the African side to promote China-Africa practical cooperation to achieve more results and strive to build a closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

He also urged China and Africa to carry forward traditional friendship, and consolidate strategic mutual trust, adding that China’s high-quality development and Chinese modernization will provide new opportunities for the African side.

No matter how the situation changes, mutual respect, mutual understanding, mutual support and mutual help have always been the defining feature and guidance of China-Africa friendship, Xi pointed out.

He added China-Africa cooperation plays an important leading role in South-South cooperation and international cooperation with Africa.

Calling Africa a “land of great promise”, Xi said that under the new situation, it is more imperative than ever for China and Africa to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and overcome difficulties together.

* This article was originally published on CGTN.