COMMENTARY: Make the China-Gambia Friendship Flower Bloom with New Splendor

Friday, January 11, 2019

On the 5th of January 2019, H.E. Wang Yi, State Councilor and Foreign Minister of China paid a successful official visit to The Gambia. During the visit, Mr. Wang called on H.E. President Adama Barrow and held a bilateral talk with Hon. Foreign Minister Mamadou Tangara. They reviewed the fruitful outcomes of the development of China-Gambia bilateral relations since the resumption of diplomatic ties over 2 years ago, and looked into the bright promise of the future cooperation between our two countries.

It has become a major feature of China’s diplomacy for Chinese foreign ministers to choose Africa for their first overseas visits each year. The most important reason for this persistent practice over nearly three decades is that China and African countries including The Gambia, as developing countries, have always been brothers and partners that share weal and woe, and enjoy mutual support.

Mr. Wang Yi’s visit to The Gambia was the first one paid by a Chinese foreign minister, which was praised by President Barrow as showing “the Chinese side’s sincerity and determination to develop bilateral relations”. President Barrow also called China “the most important cooperative partner of The Gambia”, expressed thanks to China for its abundant assistance to the economic development of The Gambia, and reiterated the Gambian side’s adherence to the one-China principle and continuous firm support to Chinese government’s just position on international affairs.

Mr. Wang Yi praised the rapid and comprehensive development of China-Gambia bilateral relations, and said that facts had proved that the resumption of diplomatic relations between China and The Gambia was a correct decision that was in the fundamental interests of our two countries and peoples, and totally conforms to the trend of the times. Mr. Wang expressed China’s willingness to continuously increase mutual trust with The Gambia, and to firmly support each other on issues concerning each other’s core interests.

Mr. Wang Yi’s visit was successful and the outcomes were fruitful, which once again proved the China-Gambia friendship to be unbreakable. Facing the recent deliberate denigration of China-Africa cooperation by certain non-regional countries, the Gambian government upheld friendly policies toward China in a firm manner, instead of being confused by the provocation and disturbed by the noise. In today’s world, unilateralism is constantly on the rise and international rules are being challenged. Clearly, The Gambia has realized that the legitimate rights and interests of the vast number of developing countries will be seriously harmed if letting go of the situation, thus placing greater expectations on the role of China. Hon. Mamadou Tangara said that “China is the hope to safeguard the multilateral system and the interests of developing countries”. China is ready to work with The Gambia to jointly safeguard the rules of multilateralism and promote the democratization of international relations.

As a Chinese proverb says, “the whole year’s work depends on good planning in spring”. Mr. Wang Yi’s visit to The Gambia took place at the very beginning of the new year, which made a good planning for the future cooperation between China and The Gambia. Mr. Wang Yi’s visit aimed to implement the important consensus reached by President Adama Barrow and President Xi Jinping, as well as the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). In the coming future, we will surely see a much comprehensive China-Gambia cooperation in all fields, including infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, education, health, cultural exchange, international affairs and so on.

The blooming flowers in January in The Gambia are symbolic of enthusiasm, hope and strength. I am convinced that with the dedicated cultivation of the Chinese and Gambian peoples, the flower of China-Gambia friendship will bloom with even brighter splendor.

Author: H.E. MA Jianchun, Chinese Ambassador to The Gambia