50 Years After, China-Nigeria Restate Commitment To Strengthening Cooperation, Cultural Exchange

By Omonu Nelson

The Cultural Counsellor of the Chinese Embassy in Nigeria, Mr Li Xuda has restated China’s unwavered commitment to further solidify the 50 year-old cooperation and cultural ties with Nigeria, even as he explained that the last 50 years has brought tremendous win-win benefits to both countries. 
Speaking as a keynote speaker at the Forum on China-Nigeria’s Fruitful Cooperation, Mr Li said, “Over the past 50 years, China and Nigeria have been supporting each other, helping each other, offering mutual support and learning from each other, 
“They have already made great achievements through exchanges and cooperation in all fields such as commercial, cultural, social, educational, etc…”
It would be recalled that recently, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi was in Nigeria on 2-day official visit. During the visit, Wang met with the Nigerian President, Muhammadu Buhari on 5th January, with both sides pledging to promote bilateral cooperation on all fronts. 
As a testament to the positive impacts of China-Nigeria relations, President Buhari admitted during his meeting with Wang that over the past 50 years, “Nigeria-China relations have achieved constructive results and Nigeria is very satisfied with the progress of bilateral relations.”
According to Mr Li, “The visiting Chinese Foreign Minister also holds talks with his Nigerian counterpart, Geoffrey Onyeama in Abuja. During their meeting, Mr Wang told his host that for 30 years in a row, Chinese foreign ministers choose Africa as their first New Year visit destination, which demonstrates the unbreakable traditional friendship between China and Africa. 
He said that this year’s visit shows that the COVID-19 epidemic cannot stop China-Africa friendship and cooperation. 
In Mr Wangs words, “Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 50 years ago, China and Nigeria have always treated each other with mutual understanding, trust and support. 
“Both sides cherish friendship and cooperation, respect each other’s core interests and major concerns, adhere to the principle of on-interference in each other’s internal affairs, and support multilateralism and democratization in international relations.”
In joint press conference with the visiting Chinese Foreign Minister, Onyeama said, Nigeria attaches great importance to develop close cooperation with China and regards China as a special strategic partner of cooperation. 
“Nigeria firmly supports the one-China principle and appreciates China’s adherence to the “one country, two systems”, said Onyeama. He thanked China for always standing with Nigeria and providing strong support for its fight against the epidemic. 
“Nigeria will make every effort to ensure the efficient operation of the intergovernmental committee of the two countries, push for further enhancement of bilateral cooperation.”

During a press conference jointly attended by Wang and Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama, Wang said that after his talks and in-depth exchange of views with Onyeama, the two countries agreed to continue to strengthen cooperation in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic and firmly support each other until the pandemic is completely overcome. The two sides will establish an intergovernmental committee to be led by the two countries’ foreign ministers that will coordinate and advance mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields.Meanwhile, the two countries will also advance cooperation in jointly promoting the construction of the Belt and Road by closely aligning China’s new development pattern with Nigeria’s new national development plan, Wang said.China will vigorously promote the construction of key projects in Nigeria so as to help Nigeria accelerate industrialization and improve its independent development capabilities. The two countries will continue to expand cooperation into areas including digital economy and green economy so as to achieve diversified development; the two sides will deepen military and security cooperation in efforts to enhance Nigeria’s capacity in safeguarding national security. Further, China and Nigeria will also closely coordinate international and regional affairs, practice multilateralism, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries.
Both sides are looking forward to jointly hosting celebrations of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties with China.

Under this favorable situation, our Forum On China-Nigeria’s Fruitful Cooperation themed with Together Over Past 50 Years & Together For A New Chapterwill take place at 4pm on 21st January 2021 in China Cultural Center in Nigeria. 
Mr Li pledge China’s readiness to work with Nigeria to review the useful experience of the past 50 years and draw up a blueprint for the next 50 years. 
China-Nigeria relations will clock 50 years by 10th February, 2021.

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