China and Botswana Embark on New Journey
Ambassador Dr. Zhao Yanbo Contributes an Article on Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s Official Visit to Botswana
7 January 2021
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is paying an official visit to Botswana, as we conclude the 45th year of China-Botswana diplomatic relations and start a new chapter with the 46th anniversary. The visit is also a continuation of a fine tradition that a Chinese foreign minister visits Africa for the first overseas visit every year since 1991, showing China’s sincerity and determination in deepening friendly relations with Africa in this trying time. As Chinese President Xi Jinping says, we will always see African countries as our tested friends no matter how developed China may become.
The world is undergoing profound changes unseen in a century. COVID-19 has put lives and health of people around the world under grave threat. Anachronistic practices of unilateralism and protectionism driven by Cold-War mentality have been on the increase. Human development is confronted with unprecedented risks and challenges. Against this background, China-Africa cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) has continued to demonstrate strong resilience and vitality, playing an important role in helping fight the virus, stabilize the economy and protect people’s livelihoods. President Xi and African leaders had a successful Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 which spearheaded international anti-epidemic cooperation. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) celebrated its 20th birthday and has become a new symbol of South-South cooperation. Mutual support between China and Botswana has also been further strengthened as we have forged ahead to meet the challenges head on with experience sharing, medical assistance, practical cooperation and people-to-people exchange, making a highlight in our relations.
The year 2021 is vital for both China and Botswana to facilitate economic recovery and social development. State Councilor Wang Yi’s visit, his first time to Botswana as well as the first in 14 years for a Chinese foreign minister to set foot on this beautiful land, will provide stronger impetus for our friendly cooperation, and create broader space for high-quality BRI cooperation in Africa.
The visit will carry on the momentum of high-level visits between China and Botswana, and chart a course for the sustainable development of the bilateral relations. In 2018, H.E. President Masisi paid a state visit to China and attended the FOCAC Beijing Summit, opening a new era of China-Botswana relations together with President Xi. This year, State Councilor Wang Yi’s visit will further boost our political mutual trust and uplift the bilateral ties to a more mature and sustainable stage.
The visit will enrich the BRI as well as China-Botswana cooperation. As 44 African countries and the AU Commission have joined the BRI family, China-Africa BRI cooperation is progressing smoothly with a host of projects coming to fruition. During this visit, China and Botswana will sign the MOU of Belt and Road to better align our development strategies, in a bid to realize high-level complementation of each other’s strengths and bring real benefits to the peoples.
The visit will promote our solidarity against COVID-19 as well as economic recovery. Last year, China and Botswana displayed with concrete actions the fraternity between us come rain or shine. To boost economic rebound this year, we need to further promote solidarity and cooperation. China will continue to give full support to Botswana in COVID-19 response, and contribute to the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in developing countries. China is willing to discuss with Botswana the ways to enhance practical cooperation in a post-COVID era, and better serve the social-economic development of both countries.
A Chinese verse reads: “To see a thousand miles, one should ascend a higher mountain.” The progress of China-Africa relationship will never stop, and the cooperation between China and Botswana will never take a break. Building on the good momentum of this visit, China and Botswana will make concerted efforts to take our ties forward against all odds. We will step up implementation of the FOCAC Beijing Summit outcomes, and add another building block toward high-quality BRI cooperation, so as to achieve greater success in our journey of building a China-Africa community with a shared future.