On the afternoon of January 27, local time, Jia Qinglin, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, arrived at Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa, kicking off his official goodwill visit to Ethiopia. He will also attend the opening ceremony of the 18th African Union (AU) summit.
Ethiopian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hailemariam, AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping and Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia Xie Xiaoyan greeted Jia at the airport where a grand welcome ceremony was held. Jia, accompanied by Hailemariam, stepped on the reviewing stand. The Ethiopian military band played the national anthems of both countries. Later, Jia inspected the guard of honor.
Jia delivered a written statement at the airport. He said Ethiopia, an important country in Africa, has a time-honored and brilliant culture. "Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 42 years ago, particularly since the establishment of the all-round cooperative partnership in 2003, China and Ethiopia have had fruitful exchanges and cooperation in political, economic, trade, cultural and other fields and enjoyed ever closer cooperation in international and regional affairs," said Jia.
"The African Union is the largest and most representative inter- governmental organization in Africa. Since its inception ten years ago, the African Union has become a banner leading African countries in their efforts to strengthen themselves through unity and has made great contribution to promoting peace and development in Africa," he said. "In recent years, the strategic partnership between China and the African Union has developed in an all-round way, as evidenced by mutual understanding and support to each other on issues concerning our respective major and core interests," he said. "The African Union Conference and Office Complex, built with China's assistance, is a symbol of our profound friendship that will go down in the history of China-Africa friendly relations," he said.
"To consolidate and grow China's relations with Ethiopia and the African Union serves the fundamental interests of both sides," Jia said. He said he was looking forward to exchanging views with the Ethiopian and African Union leaders on strengthening bilateral friendly cooperative relations as well as regional and international issues of common concern, so as to push forward China's relations with Ethiopia, AU and Africa.
During the visit, Jia is scheduled to meet Ethiopian President Girma Wolde Giorgis and hold talks with Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. Jia will also meet Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of Equatorial Guinea and current AU chairman, as well as AU Commission Chairperson Jean Ping, and attend the completion ceremony of the China-funded AU Conference Center. Jia will also address the opening ceremony of the 18th African Union (AU) summit.