Artists are dancing at the inauguration ceremony of the Rwandan President Paul Kagame, August 18, 2017. (File Photo: Xinhua)
China-Rwanda friendship is "an epitome of the friendship between China and Africa," Chinese President Xi Jinping stressed ahead of his state visit to the African country, calling on the two sides to join hands for mutual benefit and common development and for a community with a shared future.
Xi made the remarks in a signed article entitled "China and Rwanda: A Friendship Higher than Mountains" that was published in mainstream Rwandan newspaper The New Times on Saturday, in which he called for an even brighter future for China-Rwanda relations with the joint efforts of the two governments and peoples.
First visit to Rwanda by a Chinese president
Screenshot of Chinese President Xi Jinping's article (Photo: CGTN)
At the invitation of Rwandan President Paul Kagame, Xi will pay a state visit to Rwanda from Sunday to next Monday. It will not only be Xi's first visit to Rwanda but also the very first visit to Rwanda by a Chinese president.
China and Rwanda established diplomatic relations in 1971. Over the past 47 years, the two countries have treated each other as equals with sincerity and friendship, Xi wrote.
Based on mutual trust and assistance, the friendship has stood the test of the changing international landscape and taken root in our people's hearts, Xi wrote in the article.
Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) holds a welcome ceremony for Rwandan President Paul Kagame before their talks in Beijing, March 17, 2017. (Photo: Xinhua)
Bilateral ties demonstrate vitality
"In recent years, thanks to the concerted efforts of both sides, our bilateral ties have achieved fast expansion and demonstrated fresh vitality with fruitful cooperation in all areas," Xi wrote.
China and Rwanda have maintained good coordination in regional and international affairs and have conducted extensive and deep cooperation in areas of infrastructure, agriculture, education and healthcare, Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda Rao Hongwei said in an interview with Xinhua News Agency on Saturday.
China has become Rwanda's biggest trading partner and project contractor. China has provided many supports for Rwanda in its process of reconstruction and industrialization. In 2017, the bilateral trade volume reached 157 million US dollars, with an increase of 10.56 percent.
Since 1976, the Chinese government has started to provide scholarships to Rwandan students. Chinese language teaching in Rwanda is developing with a sound momentum.
As for healthcare, China started to dispatch its medical team to Rwanda in 1982, and there have been hundreds of medical staff working in Rwanda since then.
Chinese Ambassador to Rwanda Rao Hongwei holds a press briefing, July 16, 2018. (Photo: MOFA)
Historic opportunities beckon
With Rwanda actively implementing its Vision 2020 Umurenge Program and China working toward its centenary goals, historic opportunities beckon for our cooperation, Xi wrote.
During Kagame's visit to China in March 2017, the two presidents reached important consensus on deepening cooperation in various fields under the new circumstances and made overall plans for the future growth of relations.
Talking about Kagame's visit, Rao said that China-Rwanda relations have entered a period of fast development and the bilateral cooperation has embraced new opportunities.
The two countries have great potentials in synergizing the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) and Rwanda's national development plan, or Vision 2020 Umurenge Program, and enhancing their mutually beneficial cooperation, Rao added.
'Inject new impetus'
"I hope my upcoming visit will inject new impetus to our traditional friendship and all-round cooperation, take bilateral relations to a new level, and produce fruitful results to the benefit of our peoples," Xi wrote.
In his article, Xi called the two countries to:
– Uphold mutual respect and deepen political mutual trust.
– Connect our development strategies and expand cooperation in all areas.
– Promote mutual learning between civilizations and further enhance people-to-people exchanges.
– Strengthen collaboration in international affairs through closer communication and coordination.
China will continue to deepen communication, mutual trust and cooperation with Rwanda and with other friendly African countries, based on the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the approach of upholding justice and pursuing shared interests, Xi wrote.
Look forward to FOCAC
In just over a month's time, China will host a summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Beijing.
The Chinese president said in his article that he will welcome his Rwandan counterpart to the summit.
"I look forward to meeting with him and other leaders of FOCAC members to draw up a blueprint for furthering China-Africa friendship and cooperation and promoting our future development," Xi wrote.