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Seychelles welcomes China’s foreign minister | 09 January 2021

Seychelles welcomes China’s foreign minister

Minister Wang was welcomed by Minister Radegonde and Ambassador Guo on his arrival at the airport yesterday (Photo: Jude Morel)

Compiled by Christophe Zialor

 

Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi arrived in Seychelles yesterday evening on a one-day visit as part of an official tour in Africa.

Minister Wang Yi, who was welcomed at the airport by the Minister for Tourism and Foreign Affairs, Sylvestre Radegonde and Chinese ambassador to Seychelles Guo Wei, will meet President Wavel Ramkalawan at State house today where they will discuss bilateral relations between the two countries.

Minister Wang is in Seychelles on the last leg of his visit to five African countries.

He leaves Seychelles tonight to return home.

The visit is part of a 30-year tradition where China's foreign ministers make Africa their first visit for the New Year.

The State Councillor and Foreign Minister kicked off his official visit in Nigeria. He then visited the Democratic Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Botswana before coming to Seychelles.

The year 2020 is of special significance in world history and in the history of China-Africa relations. Looking back to 2020, China-Africa cooperation under the pandemic has not stalled, and China-Africa relations have stood the test. Deepening the unity in fighting Covid-19 was a major focus in Minister Wang's visit to African countries.

His visit coincides with the roll-out in Seychelles of the Covid-19 Sinopharm vaccine manufactured in China. President Wavel Ramkalawan is expected to take the first dose tomorrow.

China and African countries have worked together since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic. During the most difficult time in China's fight against the coronavirus in 2020, more than 50 African leaders sent messages of support to China. After Covid-19 broke out in Africa, China took the lead in helping Africa. China has so far sent medical teams to 15 countries to aid in their anti-virus fight, signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries, and reduced or waived interest-free loans of 15 African nations due at the end of 2020.

According to Xinhua News Agency, the visits showcase an unshakable China-Africa friendship in the post-Covid era under increasing world turbulence, and marking a new beginning in the next 10 years on the ‘Promised Land’.

The last similar visit by Minister Wang was at the start of 2020 when he made a five-day official visit to Egypt, Djibouti, Eritrea, Burundi and Zimbabwe. Between 2008 and 2018, senior Chinese leaders made 79 visits to 43 African countries – a demonstration of the close-knit relations between the two partners.

In spite of the raging Covid-19 pandemic across the continent, Mr Wang’s visit highlights the great importance China attaches to its relations with Africa and demonstrates their enduring friendship in weal and woe.

Dominating the year 2020, the Covid-19 pandemic has left the world lasting scars both in disastrous mortality and economic loss, yet the once-in-a-century epidemic also witnessed China-Africa brotherhood strengthened in their joint efforts to fight the virus.

Minister Wang Yi is a native of Beijing. He was born in 1953, entered the work force in 1969, graduated from Beijing International Studies University (Beijing’s 2nd Foreign Studies University) with a Bachelor Degree in 1982, and holds a Master Degree in Economics. He has been with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs for most of his career. He is a distinguished diplomat who has served in Japan, and worked for many years in the Asian Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Minister Wang Yi was promoted to vice-minister in 2001 and became ambassador to Japan in 2004. He was a member of the 17th and 18th CPC Central Committees and director of the Taiwan Affairs Office of the State Council from 2008 to 2013. In 2013 he became Minister for Foreign Affairs.

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