Foreign Minister of Sao Tome and Principe Urbino Botelho on Monday welcomed his Chinese counterpart Wang Yi, who is on the last leg of his African tour.
The visit came a year after the two countries re-established diplomatic ties, and the meeting was an occasion for the two officials to reaffirm their commitment to enhancing mutual understanding and trust, deepening ties and advancing cooperation.
Wang said the signing of the joint communique on the resumption of diplomatic relations in 2016 between the two countries was still fresh in his memory.
China re-established diplomatic relations with Sao Tome and Principe in December 2016, after the African nation cut "diplomatic ties" with the Chinese island region of Taiwan.
Over the past year, the relationship between Sao Tome and Principe and China enjoyed steady progress. Communication between the two sides was strengthened, bilateral personnel exchanges increased, and work of technical expert groups in the fields of medicine and electricity among others advanced smoothly.
Great prospects for cooperation in key areas like infrastructure, tourism, agriculture and fishery have been identified.
Wang stressed that the "one-China" policy is the prerequisite of the two countries’ resumption of diplomatic relations, and the political foundation for the development of bilateral ties.
China would like to continue building on the political mutual trust with Sao Tome and Principe, actively push forward cultural exchanges, and support the investment and collaboration of companies from both countries, Wang noted.
China would also like to offer necessary support based on Sao Tome and Principe’s will and need, the Chinese official added.
China wishes to strengthen communication with Sao Tome and Principe, and welcomes the country to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to be held in China later this year.
Botelho showed appreciation to the honesty and sincerity of China’s cooperative ideas with African countries, and hoped the two sides can preserve the great momentum.
He said Sao Tome and Principe supports and would like to actively participate in the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, noting that his country fully backs China hosting the forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Wang on Tuesday also met with Sao Tome and Principe President's Manuel Pinto da Costa and Prime Minister Patrice Trovoada.
The Chinese foreign minister conveyed President Xi Jinping's greeting to Pinto da Costa and praised the president's reaffirming the commitment to the one-China policy.
Wang pointed out two sides' cooperation has achieved an important early harvest and China welcomed Sao Tome and Principe to become new member of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Forum for Economic and Trade Co-operation between China and Portuguese-speaking Countries.
Pinto da Costa asked Wang to convey his greeting to President Xi and said to resume diplomatic ties with China is the most correct decision made by the government.
The president also said he is happy to see the relations between Sao Tome and Principe and China develop smoothly on the right track and reaffirmed Sao Tome and Principe will adhere to the one-China policy.
When meeting with Trovoada, Wang noted Trovoada's successful visit to China in last April proved that the resumption of diplomatic ties between two countries accords with common interests and right long-term strategic choice for both countries.
The top Chinese diplomat hoped two sides could enhance cooperation especially in fishing industry, processing industry and tourism, making the bilateral cooperation level to catch up with China's cooperation level with other African countries as soon as possible.
Africa has always been the foundation and priority of China's diplomacy, Wang stressed. China is willing to be African countries' most friendly and reliable friends in the development process of the African countries and to help African countries to enhance their capacity of autonomy and sustainable development.
Trovoada said China, as the world's second largest economy is willing to develop friendly relations with Sao Tome and Principe, the second-smallest African country, which once again proved that China has consistently advocated that every nation, large or small, should respect each other mutually.
He highly appreciated China's constructive plans to deal with global challenges and said China's diplomacy showed its responsibility for the world.
Sao Tome and Principe is willing to promote cooperation with China in various fields, strengthen cultural exchanges, strengthen communication in international and regional affairs and jointly safeguard the interests of developing countries, Trovoada added.
On Jan.12, Wang began his trip to Africa, paying official visits to Rwanda, Angola, Gabon and Sao Tome and Principe.