Chinese President, Xi Jinping, has invited President Muhammadu Buhari on a state visit to China, which would be Buhari’s first visit to China since he came to office last May.
President Muhammadu Buhari, who is set to leave for the trip in mid-April, would be the first African Head of State to visit China after the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Johannesburg Summit, which is of great importance to both China-Nigeria and China-Africa relations, and draws great attention from both countries and Africa.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Lu Kang announced this on Wednesday, saying China and Nigeria enjoy a traditional friendship, and this year marks the 45th anniversary of China-Nigeria diplomatic ties.
Buhari during the visit, will hold talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping , and Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang will have separate meetings with him, exchanging views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern.
The two sides will sign cooperation agreements and jointly hold a forum on production capacity cooperation as well as a reception marking the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties. President Buhari will also visit Shanghai, an economic hub in east China, and Guangzhou, capital of south China’s Guangdong Province.
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Chinese Ambassador to Nigeria, Gu Xiaojie, in a statement says that distance cannot separate true friends who feel so close even when they are thousands of miles apart. The China-Nigeria friendship has stood the test of time and became stronger and more vigorous despite the vast oceans between the two countries.
On February 10, 1971, China and Nigeria established diplomatic relationship, and ever since then, the bilateral relations have been developing smoothly and steadily.
In April 2005, China and Nigeria, the most populous developing countries in the world and Africa respectively, declared the establishment of strategic partnership, which lifted the bilateral ties to a new high and sounded the clarion call to form an all-directional, multi-layered and wide-ranging cooperation.
Since then, the pragmatic cooperation in various fields between the two countries have been leading in many ways in China’s cooperation with African countries, featuring fruitful achievements and exemplary highlights.
Xiaojie said Nigeria remains China’s No.1 engineering contract market, No.2 export market, No.3 trading partner, and major investment destination in Africa, adding that China has invested a total of over $2.5 billion in Nigeria.
Last year, the bilateral trade volume stood at $14.94 billion, which represented 8.3 per cent of the total trade volume between China and Africa, and 42 per cent of the total trade volume between China and ECOWAS countries.
Economically, the cooperation between China and Nigeria in various areas such as infrastructure, energy, trade and finance, has scored impressive achievements. Nigeria is the first African country to accept Chinese RMB in its foreign reserve.
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