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Old friends, strategic partners

By HASSANE RABEHI | China Daily Global | Updated: 2022-07-05 08:15
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Algeria and China have a long-established friendship that continues to flourish

Algeria is a country profoundly shaped by history. It is a country that reflects the richness of the civilizations and cultures, languages and skills and beliefs that came to life in the Mediterranean region.

While Phoenicians, Carthaginians, Romans, Vandals, Byzantines, Arabs, Spaniards, Turks, and French are all part of its history, Algeria remains deeply anchored to its age-old Amazigh origins, attached to the Arab civilization and the spiritual values of Islam. Now it has stepped into the 21st century and faces the challenges posed by globalization with the spirit of tolerance, openness and interaction dictated by its long history.

On Nov 1, Algeria will celebrate the 68th anniversary of the Great Revolution which, after seven and a half years of struggle and heavy sacrifices, enabled Algerians to obtain their independence from the colonial regime on July 5, 1962. The 60th anniversary of this historic date will be commemorated this year in a magnificent and grandiose manner.

These two important occasions offer opportunities for the Chinese leadership and people to exchange feelings of friendship and solidarity with their Algerian counterparts. China was one of the first countries in the world to recognize the Algerian interim-government that was formed in September 1958 when Algerians were still struggling for their independence, and it established full diplomatic relations with Algeria on Dec 20.

As said, China and Algeria are indeed old friends. Over all those years, the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Algeria have developed comprehensively in the political, economic, cultural, technical and health fields. Algeria once made significant contributions to China assuming its legitimate seat in the United Nations in 1971.

Algeria, which is playing on the international scene a role consonant with its acknowledged status of pivotal state in the region, firmly adheres to the one-China principle and supports China in its reunification, noting that Algeria's stand in this regard will never change.

The two countries adhere to the principles and objectives laid out in the Charter of the United Nations and pledge to promote unity, stability and fruitful cooperation based on equality and mutual interest. Algeria and China advocate and practice non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

They have been supporting, trusting and cooperating with each other, enjoying frequent exchanges of high-ranking visits. These have fostered political mutual confidence and the two countries have worked together to safeguard the rights and interests of the developing countries in international affairs.

Algeria highly values its long friendship with China and is willing to boost friendly communication, expand mutual beneficial cooperation, enhance discussion and coordination on regional and international affairs and enrich the scope of bilateral relations to push forward their comprehensive strategic partnership and cooperative relations to bear more fruit.

Since entering the new century, leaders of the two countries have exchanged visits and established different mechanisms of cooperation. In 2006, they declared their relations as strategic and in 2014, they raised them to the higher rank of comprehensive strategic partnership, bringing China-Algeria relations to a period of best and quickest development in their history.

President of Algeria Abdelmajid Tebboune, who acceded to the presidency following the election of December 2019, attended the High-Level Dialogue on Global Development, which was held in Beijing on June 24 during the 14th BRICS Summit. Last March, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi held bilateral consultations with the Algerian Minister of Foreign Affairs Ramtane Lamamra in Tunxi, Anhui province.

The progressive development of bilateral relations is anchored in the Five-Year Plan for China-Algeria Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation (2014-19) and a new Five-Year Plan for China-Algeria Comprehensive Strategic Cooperation (2022-26). Algeria joined the Belt and Road Initiative in September 2018 and the related memorandum of understanding entered into force in August 2019.

Algeria also counts among the founding members of the Belt and Road Initiative Tax Administration Cooperation Mechanism and the Belt and Road Energy Partnership, launched in August 2019. Algeria is also a member of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank.

Moreover, the substantial cooperation in economic, trade and infrastructure construction fields has been continuously deepened, and exchanges and cooperation within the frameworks of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum and China-Arab States Cooperation Forum have been expanded.

Economic cooperation and trade between the two sides produced also fresh outcomes. Within the span of a decade, China rose to become Algeria's top trade partner in 2013, and has held that position ever since. Two-way trade has continued to grow and with new progress made in project contracting cooperation between the two sides, Algeria became one of the most important overseas project contracting markets of China in Africa.

Investment cooperation maintains a sound momentum of growth. The two sides have signed several agreements. While the volume of bilateral trade increased from nearly $100 million by the end of the 1990s to nearly $10 billion in recent years.

A great number of Chinese enterprises participate every year in Algiers International Fair, making China the largest source country of participants.

Along with this optimistic evolution, more than 100 large Chinese companies with several thousand staff members are now doing business in Algeria, in sectors ranging from infrastructure, housing construction, telecommunications, space technology, hydro projects, mining and energy to transportation.

There are bright prospects for deepening and expanding bilateral cooperation in the fields of tourism, agriculture, telecommunications, health and high-quality services. The first Chinese medical group that set off to Algeria in 1963 was also the first medical team that China sent abroad.

The COVID-19 pandemic has demonstrated once again how deeply rooted China-Algeria ties are. The two sides have exchanged several expressions of solidarity and mutual support since the first week of the novel coronavirus outbreak, and China has dispatched medical personnel and donated medical supplies to help Algeria in the battle against the virus.

In addition, educational and cultural exchanges also promote understanding between the two peoples. At present, many Algerian students are studying in China; a number of them are on government-sponsored scholarships. Meanwhile, Chinese language courses have been introduced in three Algerian universities and China News Agency and CCTV have offices in Algiers.

2022 is a year of both hopes and challenges for the two countries, as it will be an important year for the implementation of President Tebboune's New Algeria Development Program and China's 14th Five-Year Plan (2021-25). It is hoped that the two countries can further boost their cooperation and jointly make new contributions to the development of the two countries and bilateral relations.

Algeria, being North Africa's largest economy, offers opportunities for business and economic interactions in various fields. The New Algerian Code of Investment which offers the best facilities and advantages to national and foreign investors on equal bases and the valuable relationships between the two countries are promising for the enlargement of bilateral cooperation and the densification of investment.

We are hopeful and confident about the future of cooperation of Algeria with China, a country where the signs of progress are clear and measurable. China has successfully transformed its economy, embracing different activities and industries, green ways, cultural life and better public facilities. The country has turned vacant land into an opportunity for economic development, jobs and public use. In China, people enjoy stability, harmony and cohesion.

Thanks to the right vision of the Communist Party of China, which we congratulate for its 101st anniversary, and to the hard work of the leadership of the country who is in fully confident at present and in the future.

The author is the ambassador of the People's Democratic Republic of Algeria to the People's Republic of China. The author contributed this article to China Watch, a think tank powered by China Daily. The views do not necessarily reflect those of China Daily.

Contact the editor at editor@chinawatch.cn

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