Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping said the visit Egypt’s leader to Beijing “will increase mutual understanding and trust” between the two countries, local media reported on Wednesday.
Xi’s remarks came during a meeting with Egyptian President Mohammed Mursi, who arrived in China on Tuesday for a three-day state visit.
Mursi held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, on Tuesday.
Mursi’s visit to China, a rising global power, comes ahead of a scheduled visit to the United States, the key ally of former Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak.
The Egyptian leader is said to have put Chinese investments high on the agenda of the talks, as a means to inject much needed cash into Egypt’s ailing economy, as well as lessen Cairo’s dependence on US aid.
Mursi reportedly suggested increasing Egypt-China flights from two per week to ten, and requested that China build a high speed train route between Cairo and Alexandria.
According to Xinhua, Mursi called Egypt-China ties “strategic” in the meeting and commended the traditional friendship.
He described his talks with Hu as being “of significance for consolidating Egyptian-Chinese strategic relations.”
“I, along with the delegation of ministers, officials and investors, convey to you and all Chinese leaders and your people all respect and appreciation for your civilization and your pioneer experience in the modern age,” Mursi said.
Chinese news agency Xinhua reported Xi as affirming the visit “would inject new impetus into bilateral relations and will open a new chapter in the friendship between Egypt and China.”
Xi said that the development of Sino-Egyptian relations is due to both being developing countries that “share common goals of maintaining state sovereignty and social stability.”
He cited other common interests as “the promotion of peace and stability in the region and all over the world.”
In an interview last Monday with Reuters news agency, Mursi stated he will seek solutions to the Syrian issue with Chinese leaders. China, along with Iran and Russia, is one of the prominent supporters of Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.
Following his visit to China, President Mursi will make a quick visit to the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Thursday where he will formally hand over chairmanship of the Non-Aligned Movement to Iran’s President Ahmadinejad.
(Xinhua, UPI, Al-Akhbar)
- Egyptian president heads to China for investment talks (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Egyptian Minister Asks for Direct Flights between Tehran, Cairo (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- Mubarak era tycoons join Egypt President in China (alethonews.wordpress.com)
KHARTOUM – The president of South Sudan Salva Kiir pleaded the case of his country with China saying that Khartoum has declared war on Juba as he started a five day visit to Beijing.
“It [this visit] comes at a very critical moment for the Republic of South Sudan because our neighbor in Khartoum has declared war on the Republic of South Sudan,” Kiir said during his meeting with China’s president Hu Jintao.
“I have undertaken this visit because of the great relationship that I value with China. China is one of our economic and strategic partners,” Kiir added.
Last Friday, the Sudanese army managed to recapture the oil-rich region of Heglig after South Sudan occupied it for 10 days sparking the worst military conflict between the two sides since the country split into north and south in July 2011.
On Monday witnesses and officials in South Sudan said that Khartoum’s air force carried out bombing raids in Unity states that fell on a market in Bentiu.
The escalation comes as a reflection of the failure of Khartoum and Juba to settle through negotiations a number of key post-independence items and particularly the issue of how much the landlocked south should pay to transport its oil through the north’s pipelines.
China has been the largest single importer of oil from Sudan prior to the south’s breakup. The latter took 75% of the country’s oil when it seceded.
But earlier this year South Sudan suspended its oil production after Sudan started taking part of the oil as payment in kind to make up for what it called unpaid fees.
Last February, Juba ordered Liu Yingcai, the head of the Chinese-Malaysian oil consortium Petrodar, out of the country and accused him of not honoring the terms of reference of the memorandum of understanding which they signed in December.
The latest Chinese customs data show crude imports from Sudan fell nearly 40 percent in January and February compared to a year earlier.
China made a failed attempt last December to mediate between the two countries on the oil issue. Following that, Beijing remained largely silent while calling on Khartoum and Juba to continue dialogue.
But last week, Sudan’s President Omer Hassan al-Bashir threatened to crush the “insect” government of the South, and said the time for talks was over.
The Chinese president appeared careful not to take sides on the Khartoum-Juba row and urged continuation of dialogue.
“The urgent task is to actively cooperate with the mediation efforts of the international community and halt armed conflict in the border areas,” Hu was quoted as telling Kiir during a meeting in Beijing.
“China sincerely hopes that South Sudan and Sudan can become good neighbors who coexist in amity and good partners who develop together,” Hu added.
Kiir and Hu witnessed the signing of several agreements between the two countries that cover humanitarian aid, solar energy and financial cooperation.
Gum Bol Noah,an official from Salva’s office, said China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC) was willing to offer South Sudan technical support if Juba decided to build an alternative oil pipeline, making it less reliant on the pipeline running through Sudan.
Information Minister Barnaba Marial Benjamin confirmed to Dow Jones China’s interest in financing the project.
“The Chinese are already there and we will continue with them, no problem” Benjamin said.
“Everybody will apply and we will see who has the capacity and who can generate a good consortium of companies to create money” he added.
Kiir attended the opening ceremony of the South Sudanese embassy in Beijing yesterday and will meet Vice-Premier Li Keqiang today.
- S. Sudan Withdraws from Heglig, Damages Revealed (alethonews.wordpress.com)
- World demands South Sudan pullout of Heglig, end to Khartoum’s air raids (alethonews.wordpress.com)