China President Xi Jinping woos Burundi’s Ndayishimiye, calls for closer ties

Chinese President Xi Jinping

Chinese President Xi Jinping is now reaching out to Burundi to strengthen their relations.

This emerged on Monday when President Xi called his Burundi counterpart, President Evariste Ndayishimiye.

Xi said China and Burundi should strengthen unity and cooperation and make joint efforts to safeguard international equity and justice.

The Chinese leader further   suggested the two countries should continue to firmly support each other on issues related to their core interests, uphold independence and sovereignty, and oppose foreign interference.

“Xi stressed that China is willing to work with Burundi to enhance political and inter-party communication, deepen exchanges and cooperation between their legislatures, local governments and think tanks, increase sharing of governance experience, and better synergise their development strategies, so as to realize mutually beneficial cooperation and common development at higher levels and lift China-Burundi relations to new heights,” China state-affiliated media said.

Ndayishimiye, for his part, said he appreciates China’s support for its efforts to safeguard sovereignty, territorial integrity and national independence.

He added that that cooperation between Burundi and China has brought tangible benefits to the Burundian people and that the two countries will always be good friends and good brothers.

He said his country firmly supports China’s positions on issues concerning its core interests, including Taiwan, Xinjiang and the South China Sea, as well as the adoption by China’s National People’s Congress of the decision on improving the electoral system of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region.

D+C Development and Cooperation publication in March 2020 observed that China’s influence in Burundi has grown, while that of the European Union has diminished.

“The Chinese presence in Burundi is visible in trade and infrastructure as well as in education and social services. Chinese funds built roads throughout the country and a 15 megawatt Ruzibazi hydroelectric power station in Rumonge Province. In healthcare, Chinese doctors are a notable presence in hospitals in the provinces of Bujumbura Mairie, Gitega and Bubanza,” the website that focuses on international-development affairs said.

It noted that China has cooperated with Burundi since the 1960s but increased its aid markedly since 2015.

“With diplomatic support at the United Nations and financial and technical support on the ground in Burundi, China has sought to displace the European Union as Burundi’s main ally,” the publication said.

The EU on February 2, however, resumed engagement with Burundi.

Burundi Foreign Affairs Minister Ambassador Albert Shingiro, EU Ambassador Claude Bochu and the envoys of EU member states signed an agreement that marked the resumption of political dialogue between the two parties.

The US is also enhancing its cooperation with the East African country.

It has sent a new envoy, Ambassador Melanie H. Higgins, and Bujumbura said it will offer “its full support and cooperation in order to strengthen the historic ties of friendship and cooperation” between the two sates.

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