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Nigerian satellite for launch from Xichang
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-15 06:07

China is expected to put a self-made communication satellite into orbit for Nigeria in 2007, making the African nation the first foreign buyer of both a Chinese satellite and its launching service.

The news came as Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo arrived in Beijing yesterday, starting a four-day state visit to China.

Describing the satellite export as a "milestone" in China's history in space, an official with the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corp said the satellite, called Dongfanghong IV, will be put into orbit by a Long March 3B carrier rocket from the Xichang Space Launch Centre in Southwest China's Sichuan Province sometime after next year.

"China Aerospace will also help to train Nigerian technicians," said the official identified as Li, adding that so far China has sent 28 foreign satellites into space.

The trip is Obasanjo's third visit to China after assuming the presidency in 1999.

During a meeting with Obasanjo, President Hu Jintao said Nigeria has become China's major trade partner in Africa and the two countries enjoy rapid growth co-operation in the fields of oil and gas exploration and infrastructure construction.

Hu suggested the strategic partnership develop by focussing on four aspects:enhancing political negotiation through high-level official and other personnel exchanges, increasing bilateral trade and two-way investment, strengthening co-operation in key fields and reinforcing negotiations in international affairs to protect the interests of developing countries.

Obasanjo, also the rotating president of the African Union, said Africa and China should continue to seek common prosperity by strengthening friendship and co-operation, saying Africa is hoping China can support and take part in the process of resolving the conflicts in the region and enhance co-operation in the fields of trade, investment and agriculture.

The two presidents yesterday also witnessed the signing ceremony of five agreements; two of them are governmental agreements on economic, trade and investment co-operation and the rest concern communications business.

As part of the agreements, Shenzhen-based Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd will deploy US$200 million worth of CDMA450 wireless access technology across Nigeria and has also committed to an additional US$20 million manufacturing investment in Nigeria.

"Nigeria is one of our major overseas markets and it has great potential" said Huawei President Ren Zhengfei.

According to Wang Junqiang, Huawei's representative in Nigeria, the wireless access technology will provide the necessary coverage to address the current telecommunications digital divide between rural areas and cities in the African nation.

(China Daily 04/15/2005 page1)

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