Interview: Chinese FM's Djibouti visit to foster already blossoming bilateral ties: expert

Source: Xinhua| 2020-01-16 22:36:50|Editor: huaxia

ADDIS ABABA, Jan. 16 (Xinhua) -- Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's recent visit to Djibouti has injected crucial impetus that would further spur the already blossoming Sino-Djibouti strategic ties, an expert said on Thursday.

Referring to Wang's remarks during his recent visit to the Red Sea nation late last week regarding the China-Djibouti strategic partnership, Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told Xinhua on Thursday that "the Chinese Foreign Minister's visit to Djibouti has provided new momentum in the two countries ever-expanding relations."

Wang, during his meeting with Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh, had underscored that the strategic partnership between the two countries has maintained a high level of development.

China and Djibouti always respect each other, support each other, and help each other, which has become a model of mutually beneficial cooperation between large and small countries, Wang stressed, adding that China firmly supports Djibouti's development path that suits its national conditions.

Costantinos, also professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, also echoed Djiboutian officials' remarks, saying that "China's significant investment has transformed Djibouti, giving the minuscule country, with a population of less than a million, leverage its populous neighboring countries, mainly Ethiopia."

"Djibouti's Doraleh Port, Africa's biggest and deepest, is one of the most significant investments that China has made in Djibouti," the scholar said, adding that the modern Chinese-built port infrastructure has enabled the Red Sea nation with increased capabilities to serve about 90 percent of Africa's second populous landlocked Ethiopia's import export endeavor.

Djibouti's President Ismail Omar Guelleh, during his meeting with Wang, spoke highly of Djibouti-China strategic partnership and commended the Chinese government and people for their assistance to Djibouti's economic and social development.

Guelleh also stressed that the Djibouti-China relationship has developed in depth and yielded fruitful results in various fields, and Djibouti has friendly feelings towards the Chinese people and regards China as a sincere friend and indispensable partner.

The expert also stressed that the Horn of Africa country's strategic geostrategic location and "its stability in an explosive Horn of Africa and Gulf region has made it a strategic arena and an important hub for the Chinese-proposed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI)."

Costantinos also indicated that Djibouti "has benefited from China's investments, grants and loans," as he reckoned the successful completion of various Chinese-built development projects such as the Ethiopia-Djibouti railway, the Djibouti International Free Trade Zone (DIFTZ) as well as the Doraleh Multi-Purpose Port.

From the successful completion of an international free trade zone to state-of-the-art port infrastructure and Africa's first fully-electrified transnational railway that stretched 752-km all the way from the Djibouti Port to the landlocked Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa, Chinese engagement is widely considered as a connecting bridge to fulfill the socio-economic transformation of Djibouti in line with its strategic geographic position situated along the coast of the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden and linking three continents that are Africa, Asia and Europe.