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China-Egypt pragmatic cooperation achieves leap in development

(People's Daily Online)    16:45, September 19, 2019

Liao Liqiang (Photo/People's Daily Online)

According to Liao Liqiang, who assumed the position of Chinese Ambassador to Egypt this June, the most important thing he has to report since he came to Egypt three months ago is that China-Egypt relations are extremely promising.

There has been strong momentum of high-level exchanges between China and Egypt over the past three months, said Liao, who mentioned that Chinese President Xi Jinping and Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi’s meeting during the Group of 20 (G20) summit in Osaka, Japan was the ninth meeting between the two heads of state.

Over the past three months, Liao has participated in the reception of 21 Chinese missions to Egypt, with the areas of communication covering diplomacy, economy and trade, science and technology, agriculture, judicature, military affairs, security, think tanks, archaeology, and regional exchanges, disclosed Liao.

Since he took up his new post, Liao has made official visits to more than 20 Egyptian officials at the vice-ministerial level and above, and felt the desire from various levels and departments of Egypt to develop closer relations with China and learn from China’s successful experience in development, noted Liao.

China and Egypt have enjoyed constant fruits in bilateral cooperation in various fields, realizing a leap in development of bilateral pragmatic cooperation, said Liao, listing that the two countries exchanged notes for the equipment project of the Egyptian-Chinese Faculty of Applied Technology at Suez Canal University and held a launching ceremony for the China-funded “MisrSat II” Egyptian satellite project.

Moreover, the fist Chinese-Egyptian Renewable Energy Laboratory produced the first Egyptian-made photovoltaic solar panel, and the naval forces of the two nations carried out joint exercises and drills, continued Liao, adding that 364 Egyptian students have gone to China to study during the 2019/2020 term thanks to Chinese government scholarships.

Under the guidance from the heads of state and the concerted efforts of various levels and circles of both countries, Liao is full of confidence in better and faster development of bilateral ties between China and Egypt in the new era.

China’s development path recognized in Egypt

At present, Egypt is making efforts to deepen reforms, develop special economic zones, and attract foreign investment, which is similar to China’s reform and opening-up, said Liao, noting that Egyptian officials have said that many of the problems Egypt is facing today were met by China 20 or 30 years ago, and that Egypt is willing to learn and use China’s development experience as reference.

Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi has said that Egypt was one of the first countries to give support to the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China, and is a natural partner in BRI construction, said Liao, stressing that the support for the BRI is a strategic choice for the stability, development, and national rejuvenation of Egypt after the political turbulence in West Asia and North Africa in 2011.

Egypt was the only country that was invited as a guest country of honor at the first China International Import Export and the first China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo, said Liao, adding that China is the largest trading partner of Egypt and the country with the fastest-growing investment in Egypt.

According to Liao, there are so far more than 1,600 Chinese-funded enterprises in Egypt, which brought the country a total investment of about $7 billion and created around 30,000 jobs for the country.

Seeing tangible benefits from cooperation with China, Egypt is ready to intensify efforts in bilateral cooperation with China and has targeted high-tech fields such as satellite and communications for greater self-development, said Liao.

Additionally, there is unprecedented enthusiasm in Egypt for experiencing Chinese culture and learning Chinese language, according to Liao, who disclosed that the country now has 16 colleges and universities which have a department of Chinese language and literature or offer courses in the Chinese language.

There are two Confucius Institutes and two independent Confucius Classrooms, and more than 2,000 Chinese majors in Egypt, according to the ambassador, adding that the Chinese courses held by the Chinese Cultural Center in Cairo are also popular among residents.

Egypt's role in building a community with a shared future for mankind

The world is undergoing significant changes, while reforms of the global governance system and international order are carried out at a faster pace, and various countries in the world are becoming increasingly interdependent and interconnected, said Liao, stressing that the zero-sum mindset does not accord with the logic of the times and that peace, development, cooperation, and win-win results are the common aspiration of people around the world.

Being at a critical period of promoting stability and development as well as intensifying efforts at boosting reforms and restoring its status as a major country in the region, Egypt is eagerly seeking to maintain a harmonious and stable international environment, pointed out Liao, saying that the ideas of pursuing cooperation and win-win results with the principles of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits highlighted in the BRI accord with the development needs of Egypt and have received active response from the country.

At the second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation this April, President Sisi emphasized that China and Egypt should accelerate the alignment of Egypt’s Vision 2030 and Suez Canal Corridor Development Project with the BRI, which signaled great potential for cooperation between the two countries, noted Liao.

With the solid foundation of China-Egypt pragmatic cooperation, Egypt will become one of the foregoers in the efforts to build a community with a shared future for China and Arab nations, China and Africa, and even mankind, said Liao. 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Web editor: Hongyu, Bianji)

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