by Guo Jun, Olatunji Saliu
ABUJA, Sept. 5 (Xinhua) -- Nigeria's foreign minister on Thursday described as "very productive" the visit of Yang Jiechi, a special envoy of Chinese President Xi Jinping, to the west African country.
"It was a fantastic visit. It was very productive. We are very happy about the commitment of the Chinese to strengthen relations in all aspects," Nigerian Foreign Minister Geoffrey Onyeama told Xinhua after his meeting with Yang.
"We really believe that China is one of our closest true friends," Onyeama said.
Yang, a member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and director of the Office of the Foreign Affairs Commission of the CPC Central Committee, was in Nigeria on Thursday as part of his trip to three African nations including Kenya and Sierra Leone, to exchange views with officials of the countries respectively on promoting bilateral ties as well as international and regional issues of common concern.
The Nigerian foreign minister said the visit demonstrated China's readiness to improve strategic partnership with Nigeria and effectively implement the outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2018.
A highlight of Yang's visit to Nigeria was his meeting with Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari.
Yang extended greetings to Buhari on behalf of Xi, saying with the support and guidance from the presidents of the two countries, China and Nigeria have enhanced political trust and made rapid progress in their relationship.
He said China and Nigeria are both the largest developing economies with the biggest population in their respective continents as well as major developing countries with important influence and bright future for development.
The two countries should further increase high-level exchanges, strengthen bilateral cooperation in international and regional affairs, the Chinese special envoy said.
The practical cooperation in various fields between China and Nigeria has achieved positive progress and benefited the two peoples, Yang said, adding that the Chinese side encourages more Chinese companies to invest in Nigeria.
China and Nigeria should continue to work hand in hand to build the Belt and Road, implement the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and continue to enrich the China-Nigeria strategic partnership, he said.
For his part, Buhari asked Yang to convey his cordial greetings to Xi, and thanked China, which he said was an important partner of Nigeria, for its long-term strong support for the African country's economic and social development. Nigeria welcomed more Chinese investment, he said.
The Nigerian side highly appreciates the Belt and Road Initiative, and stands ready to work with China to implement the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit so as to elevate the Nigeria-China strategic partnership to a new level, he added.