China, Angola upgrade ties as presidents hold talks
Cooperation plans for jointly building BRI, documents in agriculture, green devt signed to boost cooperation
Published: Mar 15, 2024 10:18 PM Updated: Mar 15, 2024 11:56 PM
The Chinese and Angolan flags are hanging in Tian'anmen Square in Beijing to welcome Angolan President Joao Lourenco's visit to China. (Photo: IC)

The Chinese and Angolan flags are hanging in Tian'anmen Square in Beijing to welcome Angolan President Joao Lourenco's visit to China. (Photo: IC)

Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Angolan President Joao Lourenco in Beijing on Friday, when the two heads of state announced the elevation of bilateral relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership. Analysts hailed the upgrade of bilateral relations, saying it would further boost China-Angola cooperation, especially in trade and business, and also inject new impetus into China-Africa cooperation this year.

While meeting with President Lourenco on Friday, President Xi noted that China and Angola jointly celebrated the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations last year and relations between the two countries have stood the test of international vicissitudes and benefitted the two peoples.

China supports Angola in safeguarding its national sovereignty, security and development interests, exploring a modernization path suited to its national conditions, and realizing national development and revitalization, he said.

China is also willing to strengthen exchanges of governance experience with Angola, upgrade bilateral strategic relations, and jointly promote the modernization process of each country, Xi noted.

President Lourenco said that the friendly relations between the two countries have maintained a high level of development, and China's support and cooperation have greatly promoted Angola's infrastructure construction and economic and social development, setting an example of mutually beneficial cooperation.

After the meeting, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of cooperation plans for jointly building the Belt and Road Initiative, as well as multiple bilateral cooperation documents in areas such as economy, trade, agriculture and green development. 

The Friday meeting holds great significance for bilateral relations between China and Angola, with a focus on enhancing the quality of business and trade cooperation, Song Wei, a professor from the School of International Relations and Diplomacy at Beijing Foreign Studies University, told the Global Times. 

During his visit to China, President Lourenco not only visited Beijing but also included Shandong Province in his itinerary, as highlighted by Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin during a press conference on March 12. 

Shandong Province, known for its rapid development in agriculture and pharmaceuticals, presents promising opportunities for cooperation with Angola. Such cooperation could also help the country, a major importer of food and agricultural goods, to develop its own agricultural industries and improve food security, said Song.

The enhanced relations have also been hailed by people in Angola. Luis Cupenala, president of the Angola-China Chamber of Commerce (CAC), said in an interview with the Xinhua News Agency that President Lourenco's China trip will "renew the vigor in bilateral relations," adding "our expectation is to mobilize more investment and cooperation, especially from private sectors to our country in agriculture, industrialization, and sustainable development." 

Song noted that President Lourenco has been actively promoting reforms in Angola since taking office, drawing inspiration from China's development experience to drive domestic economic growth and modernization.

The mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Angola also dispels the notion propagated by some Western media of China engaging in "debt trap diplomacy" in Africa, analysts said.

China has played a crucial role in supporting Angola's development in recent years, particularly through infrastructure projects undertaken by Chinese companies. These projects have significantly improved the business environment in Angola, laying the groundwork for attracting foreign investment and diversifying the country's industrial base beyond its reliance on oil, said Song. 

President Lourenco's visit to China, following the successful conclusion of China's "two sessions," also underscores the strong friendship and exchanges between China and Africa, said analysts, who anticipated increased interactions between China and African countries in 2024.

During the meeting with President Lourenco, President Xi also pointed out that China is a reliable friend and sincere partner for African countries in safeguarding independence, promoting development and revitalization. 

China is willing to strengthen multilateral coordination with Angola and other African countries to safeguard the common interests of developing countries, advocate for equal and orderly world multipolarity and inclusive economic globalization, and promote the construction of a community with a shared future for mankind, said Xi.