| January 9, 2017

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi says China welcomes African countries to join its Belt and Road Initiative.

The initiative was proposed by Chinese President Xi Jinping in hope for common development and common prosperity with countries which identify themselves with this proposal, Wang told a joint media conference with his Madagascar counterpart at the end of his visit to this island nation Saturday.

Madagascar was the first stop of a five-nation African tour by the foreign minister who will also visit Zambia, Tanzania, the Republic of Congo and Nigeria from Jan 7 to 12.

This proposal is the most important co-operative concept China has offered to the world, as well as the most widely welcomed international public good offered by China, Wang noted.

He added that co-operation within the framework of the initiative had seen a good start, was experiencing smooth development, had won positive feedback from more than 100 countries and regions, and had achieved a large amount of early results.

Wang said the African continent was part of the ancient Maritime Silk Road and if African countries are willing to join Belt and Road construction, China surely welcomes that.

In fact, Wang added, China had already started to explore co-operation opportunities with a number of African countries, especially those on the eastern coast of Africa and had achieved positive progress in this regard.

With the deepening of co-operation, the African continent would get more development benefits from this co0operation, said Wang.

As Africa's largest island and an important country, Madagascar is geographically nearest to China among African countries. Madagascar had direct historical links with the ancient maritime silk road, which make it a natural extension of the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

During his stay in Madagascar, the two sides discussed and studied the possibility of Madagascar joining Belt and Road construction and reached important agreement, said Wang.

He added that the two countries would strengthen mutually beneficial co-operation in infrastructure and production capacity, giving full play to Madagascar's advantages in geography and resources, so as to make the island nation a bridge between the African continent and the Belt and Road Initiative.


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