Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded a five-nation Middle East and Africa tour from July 19 to 28, which took him to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Senegal, Rwanda, South Africa and Mauritius. He also attended the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from July 25 to 27. This was the first foreign visit by Xi since he was reelected president in March and was also a major diplomatic event between China and other developing countries amid profound changes in international relations.
China strengthened mutual trust and friendship with Arab and African countries through Xi's visit. Growing Chinese influence in these countries in recent years has prompted certain Western politicians and media to publish comments aimed at sowing discord between China and relevant countries. Xi's latest tour was a strong response to these viewpoints as leaders of these countries all expressed a willingness to increase cooperation with China.
In addition, China has been able to further cooperation with relevant countries through the Belt and Road Initiative. Substantial progress has been made in cooperation under the initiative between China and these countries. For instance, China and the UAE agreed to strengthen the alignment of development strategies and industrial policies in order to facilitate the construction of flagship projects under the Belt and Road Initiative. Senegal became the first country in West Africa to sign a Belt and Road cooperation agreement with China.
Moreover, China has improved strategic partnerships with other BRICS countries and safeguarded multilateralism, as U.S. trade protectionism and unilateralism have dealt a blow to the global economy. During the 10th BRICS Summit, leaders exchanged views on the prominent challenges facing current international relations and increased coordination and mutual trust in dealing with international affairs.
The five countries agreed to improve joint efforts in economy and trade, science and technology, culture and healthcare, as well as the protection of a multilateral trade system with the World Trade Organization as its core. The BRICS countries also vowed to work toward a more fair and reasonable international order. They pledged to make greater contributions to building a new type of international relations and a community of shared destiny as well.
Essentially, Xi's visit will help promote the unfolding of the Belt and Road Initiative and foster peace and stability in the Middle East. It will also contribute to Sino-African mutual trust, assistance and learning in order to forge a stronger community of a shared destiny with African countries.
Copyedited by Laurence Coulton
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