ADDIS ABABA, March 16 (Xinhua) -- Djibouti's government welcomes China's greater involvement in the nation's port development, Finance Minister Ilyas Dawaleh has said in a recent interview with media.
Djibouti has terminated cooperation with the Dubai Ports World over the running of the Doraleh container terminal because of a dispute and reached an agreement with Singapore-based Pacific International Lines Pte Ltd. (PIL) on March 5 to boost cargo trade at the port.
Last August, PIL partnered with China Merchants Port Holdings Co. to build new markets in Asia.
Meanwhile, Dawaleh dismissed U.S. concerns about losing access to Doraleh port, saying it would be ridiculous to imagine that China could restrict or deny U.S. access to Doraleh as a result of the deal.
"Djibouti's development needs all its friends and strategic partners," he said, adding "no one can dictate to us who we should deal with."
Located in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti is an important choke-point that links the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden.
Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh made a state visit to China in late November, becoming the first head of state of an African country to visit China since the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) last October.
During the visit, China and Djibouti agreed to establish a strategic partnership to strengthen all-round cooperation.