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Li hosts Nigerian president to boost trade

By Li Xiaokun  (China Daily)

08:08, July 12, 2013

China and Nigeria vowed to deepen ties on Thursday, one day after the two countries finalized accords to finance development in Nigeria.

Premier Li Keqiang and visiting Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan vowed to "boost mutual political trust and deepen comprehensive cooperation" during their meeting at the Great Hall of the People, according to a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.

Cooperation between Beijing and Abuja is in the front line of China's cooperation with African nations, Li said.

Jonathan is on a four-day state visit that started on Tuesday, as he strives to boost trade ties between Asia's economic locomotive and Africa's biggest oil producer.

He has brought along about a dozen of his cabinet ministers, as well as several state governors, senior government officials and businesspeople.

He Wenping, a researcher of African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the visit came after Jonathan declared an emergency in three states in northern Nigeria in May due to terrorist attacks that have left more than 200 people dead.

Gunmen attacked a Nigerian boarding school on Saturday, dousing a dormitory in fuel and lighting it ablaze as students slept. At least 30 people were killed.

"That Jonathan insisted on the scheduled China visit under such domestic pressure indicates the importance he has attached to relations with China," said He.

Niu Xinchun, a senior expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the fact that Jonathan has brought his defense minister to China, which is not common for African leaders visiting China, suggests Abuja wants to improve security cooperation with Beijing.

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