China, Benin president hold talks in Beijing

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President Talon has arrived in Beijing
President Talon has arrived in Beijing

Chinese President Xi Jinping and his Beninese counterpart, Patrice Athanase Guillaume Talon, announced the establishment of a China-Benin strategic partnership on Friday.

The announcement was made when Xi held talks with Talon, who is in China on a state visit, at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.

During their talks, Xi noted that China-Benin relations have enjoyed a sound development momentum in recent years, with solid progress achieved in practical cooperation.

The two countries have provided support for issues related to each other’s core interests and major concerns, and maintained sound communication and coordination during multilateral events, Xi said.

“China attaches great importance to developing relations with Benin, and is willing to maintain closer exchanges at all levels, deepen friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, and push bilateral relations to a new level,” Xi said.

Expounding on the essential connotations of Chinese modernization, Xi said that China has embarked on a modernization path different from that of the West. He noted that the key is always adhering to China’s national conditions and the path of socialism with Chinese characteristics.

China supports Benin in independently exploring a development path suited to its actual conditions, and stands ready to strengthen exchanges of governance experience with Benin, share experience in reform and development, firmly support each other, and achieve common development, Xi said.

He said China encourages its enterprises to invest in and cooperate with Benin, and welcomes Benin to promote the entry of its high-quality products with unique features into the Chinese market, by making full use of such large-scale events as the Global Trade in Services Summit and the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo.

Xi also underlined bilateral cooperation in education, health care, and the construction of the Luban Workshop, a project named after the ancient Chinese craftsman Lu Ban to provide vocational skills training for local people.

He called on the two sides to strengthen counterterrorism and security cooperation, work closely to coordinate in international affairs, safeguard the common interests of developing countries and international fairness and justice, and safeguard regional and global peace and development.

Xi said 2023 marks 10 years since he proposed China’s Africa policy with the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith. Over the past decade, China has treated its African friends with sincerity and provided sincere support for Africa’s development. China-Africa cooperation has become a model for South-South cooperation and international cooperation with Africa.

He said China supports Africa in becoming an important pole in the world’s political, economic and civilization development, and stands ready to provide new opportunities for Africa alongside China’s development. China will work with African countries, including Benin, to implement the outcomes of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and facilitate the further alignment of initiatives put forward by the Chinese side, such as the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative, with the African Union (AU) Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of African countries.

“We will support Africa in achieving economic recovery and sustainable development, and will work together to build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era,” Xi said.

Talon said China is a great friend of Benin and the two peoples share a profound and sincere friendship. High-quality, mutually beneficial cooperation between Benin and China will strongly promote Benin’s industrialization process and help it better achieve national development.

There should be more than one model of democracy, and genuine democracy should benefit all people. In this regard, China has set a good example for other countries, Talon said.

Benin has benefited significantly from China’s experience in governance, and is willing to build a true strategic partnership with China, deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, and realize national development and prosperity as China has done, Talon said.

Benin firmly adheres to the one-China policy, and is willing to work closely with China to actively advance the Belt and Road Initiative and the construction of a community with a shared future for humanity, Talon said.

After the talks, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of a number of bilateral cooperation documents on deepening Belt and Road cooperation, green development, the digital economy, agricultural food, health and other fields.

Yu Jia, a senior researcher at the Institute of New Structural Economics of Peking University, said that although China and Benin are different in size, they are both equal members of and participants in the international community, and the most important thing is to expand the development of common interests.

“The establishment of this strategic partnership is bound to raise the levels of exchanges and cooperation between the two sides,” Yu said.

Yu said that Talon’s visit shows that China and African countries have broad willingness to cooperate in many fields, and that their cooperation is lasting and comprehensive.

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