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China and Eritrea should enrich strategic partnership - Premier Li

Posted by: Semere Asmelash

Date: Monday, 15 May 2023

May 15, 20236:43 AM GMT+2

China and Eritrea should enrich strategic partnership - Premier Li

china and eritrea should enrich strategic partnership premier li
Chinese Premier Li Qiang and Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki shake hands as they attend a meeting at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China May 15, 2023. REUTERS/Florence Lo/Pool

BEIJING, May 15 (Reuters) - China's Premier Li Qiang told visiting Eritrean President Isaias Afwerki on Monday their countries should "deepen mutually beneficial win-win cooperation and continuously enrich their strategic partnership" at a meeting in Beijing.

On the Red Sea, Eritrea could be geopolitically important for China, with its access to the Suez Canal and Europe to the north and the Arabian Gulf and Indian Ocean to the southeast, as China seeks to bolster its presence in the Horn of Africa.

Eritrea also shares a border with Djibouti, where China's People's Liberation Army set up its first overseas military base in 2017.

"The contributions made by the People's Republic of China to transform the world order into a more just and fair relationship among people and nations will definitely cause global challenges and transform the systems that we have," Afwerki, who has held office since Eritrea gained independence from neighbouring Ethiopia in 1993, told Li.

In March, Eritrea's foreign ministry called a U.S. State Department ruling that its military had committed war crimes in a two-year conflict in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region "unsubstantiated and defamatory."

The "marginalised continent of Africa and the rest of the world will heavily defend and expect more contributions from the People's Republic of China," Afwerki said.

Reporting by Joe Cash; Editing by Robert Birsel

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