BEIJING, Aug. 29 (Xinhuanet) — The new President in Egypt. His first visit to China. Mohamed Morsi has begun his three-day visit to China just two months after taking office.
President Hu Jintao welcomed him to Beijing.
Chinese President Hu Jintao said, “You chose China to be one of the first countries to visit after taking office. This shows that you attach great importance to Sino-Egyptian relations. I believe your visit to China will further boost our cooperation in all fields.”
President Hu’s words were well-received by his Egyptian counterpart.
Mohamed Morsi, Egyptian President, said, “China and Egypt are two ancient civilizations, and that laid the groundwork for our long-standing friendship. I’m finally here in China. Thank you so much for your hospitality.”
After concluding the meeting between the two leaders, the two sides signed eight cooperative agreements covering trade and financing, agriculture, telecommunications and tourism.
The most pressing challenge for Morsi and his government is to revive the country’s stagnant economy.
China and Egypt have managed to maintain steady and robust cooperation despite Egypt’s social turmoil.
Bilateral trade rose to 8.8 billion U.S. dollars last year, up nearly 30 percent year-on-year.
Over the course of Morsi’s visit, the two sides are also expected to exchange ideas on international and regional issues of common concern, especially the on-going conflict in Syria.
Related News from Press TV (August 29, 2012)
In Beijing, Chinese president Hu Jintao welcomed his Egyptian counterpart Mohamed Morsi in the Great Hall of the People.
Morsi, who was elected in June and consolidated his power this month by dismissing top military leaders, is seeking to introduce himself to a wider world ahead of a trip to Iran – the first by an Egyptian leader in three decades.
In a commentary, China’s official Xinhua news agency said Morsi’s visit was a sign he wanted to shift the country’s traditional diplomatic focus away from the West and that China stood ready to help in Egypt’s economic recovery.
After being affected by 18 months of political instability and a global economic slowdown, Egypt is struggling to boost its economy and attract foreign investment. It still receives $1.3 billion in annual aid from America each year, although most of that goes to its army.
Amid western economic stagnation, China has invested an estimated $500 million in Egyptian manufacturing and infrastructure. Egyptians are mindful that unlike US aid, Chinese help doesn’t come with conditions. Following discussions the two sides signed agreements in scientific and agricultural cooperation, environmental protection and tourism, with Egypt securing loans from the China Development Bank.
China enjoyed comfortable relations with Egypt under Morsi’s predecessor Hosni Mubarak before he was overthrown last year. To build influence in the new Arab world that is emerging, analysts say ties with Egypt are crucial.
Morsi’s three days in China will be followed by a trip to Tehran, where he will attend the Non-Aligned Movement summit that is expected to focus on the issue of Syria.