Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (L) holds talks with his Madagascan counterpart Beatrice Atallah in Antananarivo, Madagascar, Jan. 7, 2017. (Xinhua/Eric)
ANTANANARIVO, Jan. 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said here Saturday that China welcomes African countries to join the Belt and Road Initiative.
The initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in hope for common development and common prosperity with countries that identify themselves with this proposal, said Wang at a joint press conference with his Madagascar counterpart.
This proposal is the most important cooperative concept China has offered to the world, as well as the most widely welcomed international public good offered by China, said Wang.
Wang said that cooperation within the framework of the initiative has seen a good start, is experiencing smooth development, has won positive feedbacks from over 100 countries and regions, and has achieved a large amount of early harvest results.
Wang said that the African continent was part of the ancient maritime silk road. If African countries are willing to join Belt and Road construction, China surely welcomes that, he said.
As a matter of fact, said Wang, China has already started to explore cooperation opportunities with a number of African countries, especially those on the eastern coast of Africa and has achieved positive progress in this regard.
With the deepening of cooperation, the African continent will get more development benefits from this cooperation, said Wang.
As Africa's largest island and an important country, Madagascar is geographically nearest to China among African countries. Madagascar had direct links with the ancient maritime silk road in history, which make it a natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.
During his stay in Madagascar, the two countries discussed and studied the possibility of Madagascar joining Belt and Road construction and reached important agreement, said Wang.
He said that the two countries will strengthen mutually beneficial cooperation in infrastructure and production capacity, giving full play to Madagascar's advantages in geography and resources, so as to make the island nation a bridge between the African continent and the Belt and Road Initiative.