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Speech at the Reception on the Occasion of Assuming Duty
2014/05/22
 

by H.E. Mr. Gu Xiaojie, Chinese Ambassador

May 20, 2014

(Protocol)

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen,

Good evening!

It is my great honor to warmly welcome you as the new Ambassador of China to Nigeria. Thank you for attending the reception marking my assumption of duty tonight.

I arrived in Abuja on April 1st, exactly 50 days ago. But I am by no means a stranger to this African continent. From 2008 to 2011, I worked as Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia, and before that, I spent most of my diplomatic career in Africa, or in dealing with African affairs back at the headquarters. I am always considering myself as a half African. The moment I set my feet on the land of Nigeria, I was fascinated by the city landscape of Abuja, the enthusiasm of Nigerian people, and once again I was convinced that this continent is full of hope and dynamics.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

I came to Nigeria at a very special time. In February, Nigeria just hosted the Centenary Celebration, and from May 7th to 9th, this country successfully hosted the World Economic Forum on Africa (WEFA). These two events showcased to the world the great achievement that has been registered by the Nigerian people. On behalf of the Chinese government and the Chinese People I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere congratulations to our Nigerian brothers and sisters.

Much to my delight, just one month after I came to Nigeria, Chinese Premier Mr. Li Keqiang paid an historical visit to Nigeria from May 6th to 8th. This is the first time for Premier Li to visit Africa since he took office in 2013 and it also marks a continuous exchange of high-level visits between China and Nigeria, which yielded fruitful results.

During this visit, Premier Li and President Goodluck Jonathan had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and topics of common interest, reached extensive consensus and charted the course of future closer cooperation in various fields.

The two leaders agreed to maintain the momentum of exchanges of visit at all levels, including between governments, political parties and legislatures, in order to promote mutual understanding and trust. They further noted that 2015 will be the 10th Anniversary of the establishment of strategic partnership between the two countries, and resolved to mark the 10th Anniversary to make unremitting efforts to develop closer partnership between our two countries.

The two leaders reviewed the achievements recorded in their cooperation in the field of economy, trade, energy, infrastructure, aerospace, culture and education and expressed satisfaction with the level of progress attained. They both determined to further expand cooperation in trade and investment with each other and to deepen cooperation in the afore-mentioned sectors. Moreover, Premier Li pledged that China will support rescue operations to recover the over 200 schoolgirls.

They also agreed to enhance the coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs, so as to jointly safeguard the interests of the developing countries.

A highlight of Premier Li's trip was his appearance at the World Economic Forum (WEF) on Africa in Abuja on May 8.

In a special address at the Plenary Session of the meeting, Premier Li reiterated his recognition of Africa, which is a pole of the world in three ways: a major pole in the world political arena, a major pole in global economic growth and a colorful pole in human civilization. He declared that the rise of Africa as a new pole will only make the world more democratic, stable, dynamic and colorful, and better facilitate peace, development and progress in the world.

Premier Li also further elaborated that, when conducting cooperation with Africa, China will follow the four principles of treating each other with sincerity and as equals, enhancing solidarity and mutual trust, and jointly pursuing inclusive development as well as innovative and practical cooperation. China will carry out cooperation in six major areas, namely, industrial cooperation, financial cooperation, cooperation on poverty reduction, cooperation on environmental protection, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, and cooperation on peace and security.

To realize this, Premier Li stressed that China will continue to prioritize infrastructural development in its cooperation with Africa, especially to develop three major networks: a network of high-speed railway in Africa, a network of expressway in Africa, an aviation network in Africa.'

My dear friends,

Just as Premier Li's visit to this continent shows, China is willing to work shoulder-to-shoulder with African countries as equals and with all sincerity to scale new heights in African development. China's African policy reflects that the new Chinese government led by President Xi Jinping is committed to contribute to the common good of the world. As President Xi pointed in the speech when he visited Europe, China will, as it has done in the past, continue to endeavor to contribute to world peace and development, as it grows steadily.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Nigeria is the country with the largest population and the largest economy on this continent. Despite the economic take-off in recent years, daunting challenges remain, such as weak infrastructure, underemployment and poverty.

China is the biggest developing country in terms of population and size. It is true that China is one of the leading economies in the world, but its ranking in the United Nations Human Development Index is still around the 100th place.

China and Nigeria face many similar problems and share the same task of growing the economy, raising living standards and promoting social progress.

As the Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, I am keenly aware of my responsibilities. I will do my utmost to fulfill my duties, to pave the way for the further cooperation between our two countries. China and Nigeria may be far away geographically, but sincere brotherhood will bridge the gap and bring us together in our common effort to create a better future for our later generations.

I will also do my best to maintain and further enhance the good working and personal relations that my predecessor has established with you all.

May I propose a toast:

To the prosperity of Nigeria,

To the ever-lasting friendship of China and Nigeria,

To the good health of state leaders of the two countries and all the guests here,

Cheers!

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