Chinese president arrives in Egypt for state visit

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016-1-21 8:30:29

Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Cairo on Wednesday for a state visit to Egypt, the second leg of his three-nation Middle East tour.

It is the first time in 12 years that a Chinese president visits Egypt, a leading country in the Arab world, Africa and the Islamic world.

The visit, which comes at the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Egypt, is expected to chart out the future of the two countries' relations, said Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming, adding that the visit will be a "milestone."

Xi is scheduled to hold talks with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and meet with Prime Minister Sherif Ismail and other leaders during the visit.

Egypt was the first Arab and African state to recognize the People's Republic of China and establish diplomatic relations with Beijing in 1956.

The bilateral ties are enjoying sound momentum. Al-Sisi paid a visit to China in December 2014 during which the two countries elevated their relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Xi met al-Sisi again when the Egyptian president was in Beijing to attend events marking the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II in September 2015.

Bilateral trade between China and Egypt reached a record high of 11.6 billion U.S. dollars in 2014. The two-way trade amounted to 9.67 billion dollars in the first three quarters of 2015, up 13 percent year-on-year, according to Chinese Ambassador to Egypt Song Aiguo.

Egypt is one of the founding members of the China-proposed Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank and also vowed to vigorously participate in China's Belt and Road Initiative, believing that the initiative has provided an important opportunity for Egypt's renewal.

During his stay in Cairo, Xi will deliver a speech at the Arab League headquarters to make clear China's policy and propositions on promoting peace and development in the Middle East.

Prior to the visit, China issued its first official Arab Policy Paper, voicing hopes to bolster traditional friendly ties and all-round cooperation with Arab countries.

China and Arab states are both developing countries with their combined territory, population and economic aggregate accounting for one sixth, one fourth and one eighth of the world's total respectively.

In 2004, the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum was set up.

"There is no doubt that this mechanism has been tremendously successful. The forum contributed to increasing the volume of trade exchange between the two sides to a very high level," said Arab League Secretary-General Nabil al-Araby in an interview with Xinhua.

Today, Arab countries as a whole have become China's biggest supplier of crude oil and the 7th biggest trading partner, while China has become the second largest trading partner for Arab countries. The trade volume between China and Arab states exceeded 251 billion dollars in 2014.

China's Belt and Road Initiative and the initiative of establishing a "1+2+3" cooperation pattern, which means to take energy cooperation as the core, infrastructure construction and trade and investment facilitation as the two wings, and nuclear energy, space satellite and new energy as the three breakthroughs, are well received by Arab countries, according to China's Arab Policy Paper issued about a week ago.

Before Egypt, Xi paid a state visit to Saudi Arabia. His Middle East tour, his first overseas visit in 2016, will also take him to Iran.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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