President Xi Jinping welcomes Gambian President Adama Barrow at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Thursday.WU ZHIYI/CHINA DAILY
China and Gambia signed seven documents to enhance cooperation in areas such as trade, investment, finance and culture on Thursday during Gambian President Adama Barrow’s state visit.
Barrow is the first Gambian president to visit China since the two countries resumed ties last year. He is on a state visit to China that began on Wednesday and concludes on Monday at the invitation of President Xi Jinping.
Signing of the agreements and memorandums of understandings were witnessed by Xi and Barrow at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
The two countries established formal diplomatic ties in 1974, but China suspended relations in 1995 when Gambia resumed “diplomatic” ties with Taiwan. Gambia severed ties with Taiwan in 2013 and resumed diplomatic relations with China in March 2016.
“Facts have proved that Gambia’s decision for resuming diplomatic relations with China is in line with the trend of the current times, which is a correct choice that meets the interests of both countries and the people of both sides,” Xi said.
The two countries should uphold the one-China policy and support each other on issues of core interests and major concerns, Xi said.
China sees its cooperation with Gambia on agriculture, electric power and infrastructure as very important, Xi said, adding that China would like to help Gambia achieve sustainable development.
Xi expressed gratitude for the congratulatory message from Barrow on the success of the Communist Party of China’s 19th National Congress in October and Xi’s re-election as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
The Party congress put forward the proposal of building a community of shared future for mankind and China would like to enhance its cooperation with developing countries, such as those in Africa, Xi said.
Mentioning that the Gambian government is dedicated to developing its economy and improving its people’s livelihoods, Xi said he is happy to see that the people of Gambia have initiated a new journey of building the country.
The cooperation between the two countries since March 2016 has benefited people from both sides, Xi said, adding that Gambia has supported China’s stance on issues including Taiwan and the South China Sea that is related to China’s core interests.
China respects and supports the Gambian people’s choice and would like to offer help for the Gambian government, Xi said.
Barrow said that Xi’s invitation is “a sign of support” and “a sign of giving confidence” to bilateral ties.
It was “a great mistake” when Gambia resumed “relations” with Taiwan in 1995, which was “an individual decision” and not the will of Gambian people, he said.
Barrow expressed gratitude to China for giving support to Gambia since the 1970s in the areas of agriculture, health and technology.