|President Hu Jintao to Visit Three African Countries|
At the invitation of President Bush of the United States of America, King Abdullah Bin Abdul-Aziz of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, King Mohammed VI of the Kingdom of Morocco, President Olusegun Okikiola Aremn Obasanjo of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, President Mwai Kibaki of the Republic of Kenya, President Hu Jintao will pay state visits to the above-mentioned five countries. He is scheduled to visit the United States from April 18 to 22, followed by Saudi Arabia from April 22 to 24, Morocco from April 24 to 26, Nigeria from April 26 to 27, and Kenya from April 27 to 28.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said that Hu will pay his first visit to Saudi Arabia as president and hold talks with King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz. It will be the second time the two countries' top leaders have met this year. The King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz visited China in January, which was his first overseas trip since ascending the thrown in August last year. Saudi Arabia is a major influential power in the Middle East and Gulf region and in Muslim society, Yang said. China and Saudi Arabia established their diplomatic relations in 1990. The two sides share the same or similar views on regional and international key issues and have cooperated on international affairs, Yang said. Saudi Arabia is China's largest trade partner in West Asia and North Africa with bilateral trade reaching 16 billion U.S. dollars in 2005.
Hu's third stop will be Morocco, which forged diplomatic ties with China in 1958. He will confer with King Sidi Mohammed and other senior officials. Yang hailed China-Morocco relations and cooperation in all fields, especially their economic and trade ties. China-Morocco trade increased by 28 percent year on year to reach 150 million U.S. dollars in 2005. The two sides were expected to a ink series of agreements in such fields as trade, culture, health care and sanitation during Hu's visit.
Hu will next travel to Nigeria, where he is expected to hold talks with his counterpart Olusegun Obasanjo and meet with senior legislators. He will also deliver a speech in the Nigerian parliament on Sino-African relations and China's policy on Africa, according to Yang. China and Nigeria formed diplomatic ties in 1971. The two countries' bilateral relations have witnessed fruitful cooperation in such fields as agriculture, infrastructure construction, power generation and telecommunication. Sino-Nigerian trade hit 2.83 billion U.S. dollars in 2005, up 29.6 percent year on year. The two countries also carried out effective cooperation in counter-terrorism and peacekeeping activities.The last leg of the five-nation trip is Kenya, which is an important country in East Africa, Yang said. China and Kenya founded their diplomatic relation in 1963 and bilateral relations have been going well. The Kenyan government adheres to the One-China Policy and has kept close consultation and cooperation on international affairs with China, Yang noted. Trade and economic cooperation between the two countries also keeps expanding. In 2005, bilateral trade amounted to 475 million U.S. dollars, up 29.7 percent year on year. Chinese companies inked 830 million U.S. dollars worth of project contracts up to June 2005 and completed 780 million U.S. dollars in sales volume, according to Chinese statistics. The two countries also carried out fruitful cooperation in tourism, culture and education, Yang said. The first Chinese Confucius Institute in Africa opened at the University of Nairobi and some 10,000 Chinese tourists visited Kenya in 2005. During his stay in the country, Hu will hold talks with his counterpart Mwai Kibaki and visit the United Nations Human Settlement Program and the UN Environment Program which are based there.