On the afternoon of May 15, 2023, President Xi Jinping held talks at the Great Hall of the People with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki who was in China for a state visit.

Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Eritrea have a profound traditional friendship. The two countries will mark the 30th anniversary of diplomatic ties on May 24 this year. Over the past 30 years, China and Eritrea have always trusted and supported each other. China views and develops bilateral relations with Eritrea from a strategic and long-term perspective, and is a reliable friend of Eritrea. In the face of the current international situation, which is full of instability and uncertainty, developing a sound China-Eritrea relationship not only serves the common and long-term interests of the two countries, but is also of great significance to safeguarding regional peace and international fairness and justice. China is ready to work with Eritrea to deepen a close and friendly relationship between the two countries as friends and comrades, and constantly elevate China-Eritrea strategic partnership to new levels.

Xi Jinping emphasized that China appreciates Eritrea’s long-standing adherence to an independent foreign policy, firmly supports Eritrea in exploring a development path suited to its national conditions, firmly supports Eritrea in safeguarding its sovereignty, security and development interests, and opposes external interference in Eritrea’s internal affairs and the imposition of unilateral sanctions. China is ready to share experience with Eritrea on national governance, continue to support each other, jointly oppose unilateralism and bullying, and safeguard the common interests of the two countries and the vast number of other developing countries. China is ready to work with Eritrea to advance mutually beneficial cooperation and achieve common development through such frameworks and platforms as Belt and Road cooperation, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa. China encourages and supports Chinese businesses’ investment in Eritrea, and stands ready to work with Eritrea to explore efforts to strengthen cooperation in such fields as infrastructure development, telecommunications, agriculture, mining and fisheries, and will continue to well implement projects of sending medical teams and senior agricultural experts to Eritrea. Xi Jinping thanked Eritrea for providing support and assistance to China during its recent evacuation of Chinese citizens in Sudan, which again demonstrated the profound friendship between the two countries of sharing weal and woe and helping each other in difficulties. The two sides should take more measures to enhance cultural and people-to-people exchanges and forge a closer bond between the two peoples.

Xi Jinping pointed out that no matter how the situation develops, mutual respect, mutual understanding, mutual support and mutual help have always been the key features of China-Africa friendships, and China-Africa cooperation plays an important leading role in South-South cooperation and international cooperation with Africa. Africa is a promising land. Under new circumstances, it is more important than ever for China and Africa to strengthen solidarity and cooperation to overcome difficulties together. China is ready to work with Africa to carry forward traditional friendship, consolidate strategic mutual trust, create new opportunities for Africa with China’s high-quality development and Chinese modernization, deepen and substantiate China-Africa practical cooperation for more new outcomes, and build an even closer China-Africa community with a shared future.

Isaias Afwerki spoke of his special bond with China that has lasted for over half a century, and said that the Eritrean people will never forget the precious mental and material support the Chinese people provided for Eritrea’s independence and liberation. China is a great country. Since the founding of the People’s Republic of China, the country has grown from a poor and backward country into a major country in the world, making outstanding contribution to peace and development of humanity. China has always held the moral high ground, put forward its own solutions to global challenges, upheld international fairness and justice, and encouraged developing countries seeking independence and development. Any attempt to contain or suppress China’s development is bound to fail. The evolution of international order is at a critical stage, and African countries still face hegemonism and various unfair and unjust treatment. The international community expects and believes that China will make greater contribution to human development and progress and international fairness and justice. Eritrea hopes to strengthen cooperation with China and believes that Eritrea-China strategic partnership will help Eritrea achieve national economic and social development.

Prior to the talks, Xi Jinping held a welcome ceremony for Isaias Afwerki at the square outside the east entrance of the Great Hall of the People.

Upon Isaias Afwerki’s arrival, a guard of honor lined up in salutation. After the two heads of state stepped onto the stand, the military band played the national anthems of China and Eritrea. A 21-gun salute was fired at the Tiananmen Square. Isaias Afwerki reviewed the guard of honor of the People’s Liberation Army and watched the march-past in Xi Jinping’s company.

Xi Jinping hosted a welcome banquet for Isaias Afwerki at the Golden Hall of the Great Hall of the People in the evening.

Wang Yi and Qin Gang, among others, participated in the above events.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the People’s Republic of China

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