More than 600 years ago, Zheng He, a Chinese navigator, led fleets to sail across oceans to Africa with precious goods such as gold, silver, silk, porcelain, tea and so on, opening the “Maritime Silk Road” and conveying China’s wish for good relations with Africa. Nowadays, the 43rd escort fleet of the Chinese Navy visited beautiful Africa once again in the fleet of cooperation, peace, and friendship, commencing friendly visits to five West African countries, including Nigeria. This is a pragmatic move by the Chinese Army to implement President Xi Jinping’s Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and Global Civilization Initiative.
The visit of the Chinese Navy to Nigeria is a‘journey of cooperation and development’. During the visit, the Chinese and Nigeria naval commanders had candid and in-depth communication at the Nigeria naval headquarters. They reached a number of common understandings on military cooperation. Military visits between the two countries show the high level of strategic mutual trust. Nowadays, the China-Nigeria cooperation in many fields are upgrading, ushering the bilateral relationship into a new era of building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future. The series of successful landmark projects of the Belt and Road Initiative, such as the Lekki Deep Seaport, Dangote Refinery, and the Lagos Rail Mass Transit Blue Line, are bringing tangible benefits to the local communities. Ten years ago, President Xi Jinping put forward the concept of a human community with a shared future, the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith for China’s relations with Africa, and Belt and Road Initiative. Over the past decade, regardless of the great changes of the international situation, China has always been respecting, appreciating and supporting Africa, forming a distinctive approach to win-win cooperation with Africa. China stands ready to work with Nigeria and other African countries in the pursuit of development, implementation of the Global Development Initiative and bringing more benefits to African people. China and African countries are making the clarion call for common development and prosperity, and China-Africa cooperation is on a fast track.
The visit of Chinese Navy to Nigeria is a ‘journey of peace and security’. During the visit, the Chinese and Nigeria naval vessels conducted exercises on counter-terrorism, anti-piracy, joint search and rescue and other subjects, greatly enhancing bilateral military exchanges. China is known to be a force for world peace, a contributor to global development and a defender of the international order; the Chinese Navy is a firm practitioner of maintaining world peace and stability, as well as China’s independent foreign policy of peace. In recent years, the Chinese naval escort fleets have been invited on many occasions to hold joint anti-piracy exercises with navies of African countries, and have provided anti-piracy materials and equipment assistance. In May, 2022, China held the first webinar on the security situation in the Gulf of Guinea, during which China conducted in-depth discussions with countries along the Gulf of Guinea on the maritime security, reaching important consensus. China will continue to foster the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and firmly support African countries’ efforts in solving regional problems independently. China is willing to work with Nigeria and other peace loving African countries to deepen the implementation of the Global Security Initiative, and defuse the African and global hotspot issues.
This visit is also ‘a journey of friendship and civilization’. During the visit, representatives of the Chinese Navy visited a school called “Bethesda Home For the Blind” in Lagos and donated stationery and food. A deck reception was held by the Chinese Navy for communication with friends from all walks of life in Nigeria. China and the African continent boast of a long history in culture communication, laying a solid social foundation for bilateral ties and friendship. Nigeria is rich in history, possessing unique and vibrant cultural characteristics. The cultural exchange between China and Nigeria can strengthen the emotional bonds between the two countries, provide lasting assistance for the revival of their civilization, cultural progress, and literary prosperity, and provide deeper spiritual nourishment for China-Nigeria cooperation. China is willing to work with Nigeria and other African countries that respect civilization to implement the Global Civilization Initiative, promote6 the humanity’s shared values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom, and build the garden of world civilizations with joint effort.
Together with Nigeria and other African countries, China has been demonstrating through actions that the original aspiration of win-win cooperation and common development will never change, and the determination to work together for a closer community with a shared future will never waver, regardless of the changes in the world and the interference of certain forces. China stands ready to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Nigeria, to open up a far brighter future for China-Nigeria relations and to promote the construction of a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.