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China offers aid to new friend Gambia

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (R) shakes hands with his Gambian counterpart Ousainou Darboe, in Beijing, China, August 1, 2017.

China has offered to support Gambia in the sectors of infrastructure, agriculture, tourism, and other areas, following the African country’s severance of formal ties with Taiwan.

At a meeting in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi told his visiting Gambian counterpart Ousainou Darboe that China was ready “to enhance cooperation with Gambia” in the aforementioned fields, the Chinese Foreign Ministry announced on Tuesday.

Gambia cut formal ties with Taiwan — a self-ruled island that China claims sovereignty over — and resumed ties with Beijing last year. The Chinese government says Taiwan has no right of establishing diplomatic relations of its own.

Wang did not offer details on a timeframe and the scope of the cooperation offered; however, he said the resumption of diplomatic ties had not only brought bilateral relations back to the right track but also opened up broad prospects for cooperation.

China is among the foreign countries interested in building up Gambia’s Atlantic port of Banjul to become what industry sources say could be a rival to neighboring Senegal’s Dakar.

Gambia’s new government, which took over from former long-time leader Yahya Jammeh this year, has pledged to broaden its relations with Beijing.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry cited Darboe as saying that Bangui was looking forward to pragmatic cooperation with China in various fields.

São Tomé and Príncipe, an island country in the Gulf of Guinea, followed Gambia in December and adopted the “One China” policy, which recognizes Chinese sovereignty over Taiwan.

In Africa, only Burkina Faso and Swaziland now recognize Taiwan.

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