Join Hands to Pursue Shared Development and Future

Ma Xinmin
Chinese Ambassador to Sudan

2021 is a crucial year for Sudan as the country is making a new, vital step in its political transition. Despite the grave challenges posed by the epidemic and floods both unseen in a century, Sudan has made positive progress in its peace process and breakthroughs in rejoining the international community. With the external environment continuously improved, Sudan is forging ahead with its economic reform. Led by the two leaders, the China-Sudan strategic partnership has advanced with positive momentum, taking on a new look and achieving breakthroughs.

Through close interactions at top levels, the two countries have strengthened unity and mutual trust. The Chinese President Xi Jinping and President of Sudan’s Sovereign Council Burhan exchanged congratulatory messages for China’s National Day and Sudan’s Independence Day, while Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister of the Sudanese transitional government Hamdok, and Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his counterpart, spoke by phone respectively on solidarity against COVID-19, deepening of the bilateral relationship, and enhanced coordination in regional and international affairs.

This year, Sudanese President Burhan extended a congratulatory message to General Secretary Xi Jinping on the century of the founding of the Communist Party of China. Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke on phone with his Sudanese counterpart Mariam, while Assistant Foreign Minister Deng Li held talks with the Sudanese Ambassador to China. As a result, an important consensus on bilateral relations has been reached. Advocating trust and harmony, China and Sudan always show mutual support on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns, cooperate on safeguarding the shared interests of developing countries, and coordinate with each other in regional and international affairs. China speaks up for Sudan at the UN Security Council and other international fora to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Sudan.

As part of its efforts to support and play a contractive role in Sudan’s smooth political transition, China had the Special Representative of the Chinese Government on African Affairs Ambassador Xu Jinghu attend the ministerial conference of Sudan Partnership and then it’s Ambassador to France attend the International Conference to Support the Sudanese Transition held in Paris. Sudan categorically backs China on issues concerning Xin Jiang, Hong Kong, Tibet, Taiwan, human rights, and COVID-19 origin-tracing, as well as other China-related issues. These interactions enable us to keep the political mutual trust at a high level.

Through concerted efforts against COVID-19, the two countries have renewed bilateral friendship. The long-lasting friendship between China and Sudan has stood the test of COVID-19 and grew even firmer. Dedicated themselves to delivering medical services to the local people, the members of the Chinese medical assistance team hold fast to their positions, especially those in the 35th and 36th teams who braved the danger and remained at the forefront of Sudan’s fight against COVID-19 amid the pandemic. A 20-member medical expert group was also sent by the Chinese government to Sudan. To date, China has donated to Sudan’s anti-epidemic medical supplies in 19 batches and 250,000 doses of vaccines and pledged to provide 400,000 more doses to the Sudanese side. The joint efforts of the two countries to fight COVID-19 is another good example of unity and cooperation and will go down in the annals of the China-Sudan relationship.

Through active actions for practical cooperation in more areas, the two countries have broadened mutually beneficial cooperation. Bilateral cooperation on oil, infrastructure, agriculture, mining, and other areas has maintained momentum. Despite hardships, satisfactory progress has been made in major cooperation projects, including the signing of the implementation agreement for the China-aid slaughterhouse project, the signing of the cooperation agreement between CRRC Ziyang Co., Ltd. and Sudan Railways Corporation, and the signing of the cooperation agreement for mineral exploration and exploitation between Wanbao Mining Ltd. and Sudan’s Ministry of Energy and Mining. In 2021, the area of the new cotton variety “Seeni 1” grew by the Shandong-based New Epoch Agricultural Development Company has reached 10,000 hectares, creating 30,000 jobs for 2,500 rural households and dramatically improving the lives of local farmers. The minerals analytical laboratory built by the NO.6 Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources Exploration of Shandong Province makes it possible for Sudan to assay minerals at much higher professional and international levels.

Most recently, China’s Chery Automobile Company and Sudan’s GIAD Engineering Industrial Group marked successful cooperation with the arrival of the first batch of 300 vehicles in Sudan for assembling, which is one of the highlights of China-Sudan pragmatic cooperation.

Through diverse cultural and educational activities, the two countries have witnessed closer people-to-people exchanges. China and Sudan have seen our friendship gain increasing public support and people-to-people exchanges thrive. For a long, China has trained various professional personnel for Sudan. According to incomplete statistics, since China and Sudan established diplomatic relations 62 years ago, over 1,800 Sudanese students have returned to their homeland after finishing their studies in China, in addition to thousands of Sudanese friends who have received technical training in China. Despite its difficulties including the early outbreak of COVID-19, the Chinese government awarded 2020 scholarships to 72 Sudanese students for their studies in China.

This year, the Chinese Embassy in Sudan launched the “Chinese Ambassador’s Book House” in the Department of Chinese Language at the University of Khartoum. In building “China-Sudan Friendship Schools” together with three local primary and secondary schools, the Chinese Embassy in Sudan helped in rebuilding the sports ground, replacing desks and chairs with new ones and equipping these schools with the “China-Sudan friendship multi-media classroom”. It also collaborated with the Sudan Acrobatic Troupe in building the “China-Sudan friendship rehearsal studio” by renovating training facilities and donating costumes and props.

Moreover, it donated cultural and educational facilities to the “Sudanese Center of Culture and Development Creativity” and worked with it to set up the “China-Sudan Center for the Promotion of Cultural Exchange”. A series of activities, including the “Chinese Culture Day” held in the University of Khartoum, the special performance in celebration of the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China staged by the Sudan Acrobatic Troupe, and the 50th anniversary of China-Sudan cooperation in acrobatics”, and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of China sending a medical assistance team to Sudan, were held to renew the friendship between the two peoples and add fresh impetus to the future development of bilateral relations. All these have cemented public support for our friendship.

As Sudan is currently in a period of political, economic, and social transformations, the bilateral relationship is faced with unprecedented challenges and opportunities. China stands ready to join hands with Sudan for common development and a shared future.

First, we need to promote communication and exchanges among all sectors between the two sides, and jointly lift our political mutual trust to a new height. We should actively implement the consensus reached between the two leaders, and inherit and carry forward the traditional friendship between the two countries. We should strengthen high-level interactions, as well as exchanges regarding political parties, government, legislation, military affairs, and local governments. It is important for us to give stronger support on issues concerning each other’s core interests and major concerns, and to enhance coordination in regional and international affairs to defend our shared interests.

Second, we need to fight COVID-19 through unity and mutual assistance, and jointly push for new progress in our medical cooperation. We should deepen medical cooperation by actively implementing the proposals and initiatives announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, pushing ahead the health programs under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), and effectively leveraging the Chinese medical assistance team, China-Sudan friendship hospitals and the cooperation mechanism for pairing Chinese and Sudanese hospitals. Our cooperation on COVID-19 response, medicine, public health governance, capacity building, and medical infrastructure also needs to be strengthened.

Third, we need to explore new areas for bilateral cooperation, and jointly make new gains in our practical cooperation. Based on the rich natural resources of Sudan, we should continue to tap into our complementarity and the potential of bilateral cooperation to create new growth drivers. Under the framework of the Belt and Road cooperation, FOCAC and CASCF, we should enhance cooperation on three fronts, namely agricultural, animal husbandry, energy and mining sectors, the economy of regions bordering the Red Sea and the Nile, and construction of infrastructures like airports, harbors, and satellite navigation. We expect active progress in the tripartite oil cooperation among China, Sudan, and South Sudan and early delivery of the China-aid slaughterhouse project, the locomotive project, and the mineral exploration and exploitation. Through extensive efforts to propel business and investment cooperation between the two sides, we will boost Sudan’s economic transformation and bring benefit to its people.

Fourth, we need to maintain cultural and people-to-people exchanges with higher quality and in a more effective manner, and jointly make a new step toward closer ties between the two peoples. A bond of friendship forged between the peoples is a source of impetus for the China-Sudan relationship. We should work actively to expand people-to-people exchanges and cultural cooperation in more fields, among people of wider ranks and classes, in wider places, and at higher levels. We should advance the implementation of the people-to-people exchange initiative, one of the “Eight Major Initiatives” proposed at the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, through expanding our dialogue and exchanges in education and culture and among youth, women, media, think tanks, and civil organizations, promoting Chinese language learning, and carrying out cultural exchanges.

This will enable us to strengthen public support for nurturing our friendship among future generations.

As a Chinese saying goes, “It is the right time to set sail with the fair wind.” The second China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo (CAETE) is around the corner. As the sole platform for economic and trade cooperation operated under the FOCAC mechanism, the CAETE is an arena with tremendous potential for a wide range of business activities. We believe that with strong cooperation between China and other African countries, the second CAETE will certainly be another grand occasion to deepen high-quality economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa. It is bound to bring new opportunities for China-Sudan economic and trade cooperation and to write a new chapter of our practical cooperation.

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