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Xi’s trip set to bring Asia, Africa closer together July 16, 2018

President Xi Jinping will pay state visits to the United Arab Emirates, Senegal, Rwanda and South Africa from July 19 to 24, and attend the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from July 25 to 27, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said.

On his way home, the president also will visit Mauritius during a stopover there, Lu said.

This will be Xi’s first overseas trip since he was re-elected president in March.

The state visits are at the invitation of UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Senegalese President Macky Sall, Rwandan President Paul Kagame and South African President Cyril Ramaphosa.

Li Wentao, deputy director of the Institute of African Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said China has always valued its relationship with developing countries, including African countries, which lie at the foundation of China’s foreign policy and cooperation.

Xi’s first overseas trip after his 2013 election as president also included African countries.

“The upcoming visit covers a wide area of the African continent, showing that China treasures its traditional friendship with Africa,” he said.

According to Li, this year has seen frequent high-level visits between the two continents, which is “just like visiting relatives”.

Top political adviser Wang Yang visited the Republic of Congo, Uganda and Kenya in June and top legislator Li Zhanshu visited Ethiopia, Mozambique and Namibia in May.

“The China-Africa relationship has entered a new era, with bilateral collaboration elevated from trade and economy to the strategic level,” Li said.

In 2015, China and Africa established the comprehensive strategic partnership during the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in South Africa.

“This year is important for China-Africa cooperation as the Beijing Summit of FOCAC will be held in September,” Li said, adding that Xi’s trip will also help to prepare the upcoming meeting.

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