Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday held talks with Botswana’s President Mokgweetsi Masisi in Beijing during which the two leaders agreed to raise bilateral ties to a new level. President Masisi is on a state visit to China to attend the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) scheduled for 3-4 September.
“We appreciate that the Botswana government is committed to the China-Botswana friendship and deepening cooperation with China in all areas,” Xi said, suggesting the two sides aim high and look far, increase mutual trust and deepen cooperation to raise bilateral ties to a new high.
Xi stressed the need for China and Botswana to intensify high-level exchanges, deepen governmental, legislative and sub-national exchanges and always understand and support each other on issues involving their development paths, core interests and major concerns. China stands ready to enhance aligning development strategies with Botswana and welcomes Botswana to take an active part in the Belt and Road construction, Xi added.
The Chinese president also spoke of the need to boost people-to-people exchanges, wildlife protection, communication and coordination in international and regional affairs, jointly safeguard the rights and interests of the developing countries, advance development of a new type of international relations and build a community with a shared future for humanity.
Masisi said Botswana has since independence maintained good ties with China. Botswana people appreciate China’s continued assistance in areas such as infrastructure and healthcare. Botswana would like to congratulate and learn from China’s great achievements in development and poverty alleviation, he added.
While voicing the willingness to boost the bilateral ties to a new high, Masisi said China is an important force in the international community and a key partner of developing countries. Botswana firmly upholds the one-China policy, agrees to the great concept of building a community with a shared future for humanity, supports the Belt and Road Initiative and is committed to expanding bilateral cooperation within the FOCAC framework.
President Masisi discusses his expectations of the upcoming FOCAC Summit
This is President Masisi’s first state visit to China. CGTN’s Su Yuting sat down with him to discuss Botswana-China business relations and his expectations of the upcoming FOCAC Beijing Summit.
Meantime, news reached YourBotswana this week that China has written off Botswana’s loans
The Embassy of the People’s Republic of China has exempted the government of Botswana from payment of the three interest-free loans amounting to a total of RMB Y52.993, 400, approximately P80,404,058. A press release from the Ministry of Finance and Economic Development says the government of Botswana and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China signed the exemption protocol on 22 August.
It says the exemption is in line with the undertaking during the forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit held in Johannesburg in December 2015. The release further states that the amount covers loans that were extended to Botswana to finance the railway rehabilitation project and two that financed a multi-purpose youth centre. It further states that in his remarks during the signing ceremony, Botswana’s Finance Minister, Kenneth Matambo said the exemption would lessen Botswana’s debt burden and allow the government to prioritise development projects in the National Development Plan.
“Minister Matambo asserted that the Botswana government appreciates the long-standing cooperation with the Chinese government through the extension of both grants and concession loans”, reads the release.
The release said both countries reaffirmed their commitment to work together for the betterment of their respective countries.
Video courtesy of CGTN, (Published on 31 Aug 2018)
Images courtey of BWgovernment Facebook page