BEIJING (Reuters) – Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Eritrean side in Beijing on Monday, saying that strong China-Eritrea relations are key to enhancing peace and pursuing mutually beneficial development in the Horn of Africa. said it would be.
Eritrea is of strategic importance to China due to its location in the Red Sea, one of the world’s most important shipping lanes, with access to both the Suez Canal and Europe to the north and the Indian Ocean to the southeast.
Eritrea is a reclusive country that gained independence from Ethiopia in 1993 after a long war, but it also shares a border with tiny Djibouti, where the Chinese military established its first overseas naval base in 2017.
Xi Jinping met with Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing after the honor guard ceremony in Tiananmen Square, and said that China and Eritrea “share deep bonds of friendship in an uncertain and unstable world.” there is,” he said.
“A strong China-Eritrea relationship is not only in line with the common long-term interests of the two countries, but also conducive to maintaining regional peace,” Xi said.
Last year, China appointed senior diplomat Xue Bing to the newly created post of Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa. The Horn of Africa is a geopolitically sensitive and conflict-ridden region in which the Chinese government has invested heavily and with ally Russiahas competed with the West for influence.
Mr. Isaias recounted the first time he came to China for military training in 1967. At the time, “China was at the height of its Cultural Revolution, and bilateral relations between China and the former Soviet Union were at an historic crossroads.” When China first tested an atomic bomb. ”
In another meeting with Chinese Premier Li Qiang early Monday morning, Isaias praised China for its “contributions to transforming the world order into fairer and just relations between people and nations.”
Chinese state media reported on the same day that Xi said he was “ready to work with Eritrea to promote mutually beneficial cooperation and development.”
“The Chinese side encourages and supports Chinese-funded enterprises to invest in Eritrea, and is ready to discuss cooperation in areas such as strengthening infrastructure construction and telecommunications, agriculture, mining and fisheries,” state television said. I told you.
Western groups have accused Eritrea of countless human rights violations under the Isaias regime over the three decades, including the military service and indefinite conscription of men and unmarried women into civil service since the 1998-2000 border war with Ethiopia. ing.
Asmara authorities routinely deny such accusations.
In March, the Eritrean Ministry of Foreign Affairs ruled the US State Department that Eritrean forces had committed war crimes during the two-year conflict in the Tigray region of northern Ethiopia.baseless slander”.
Reported by Joe Cash.Editing: Robert Barthel
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