The importance of the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang to Egypt

The visit of the new Chinese Foreign Minister “Qin Gang” to a number of African countries and Egypt is the 33rd year in a row, in which Africa is the destination of the first annual foreign visit of Chinese foreign ministers.  Bearing in mind that China appointed, at the end of December 2022, its ambassador to Washington, “Qin Jang,” as the new Minister of Foreign Affairs, and this decision was taken at the meeting of the Standing Committee of the Chinese National People’s Congress.  The visit of the new Chinese Foreign Minister to Africa comes to the Chinese emphasis on several axes, which are:

  • The Chinese response to those American and Western allegations that China is creating a “debt trap” on the African continent.
  • The Chinese assertion that its investments and aid to Africa are not a debt trap, but a benefit.
  • The firm Chinese response to the accusations of the Pentagon spokesman “Patrick Ryder”, regarding his warning that: “the development of the relationship between African countries and China will have negative repercussions on the relationship of these countries with the United States of America”

The visit of the new Chinese Foreign Minister, “Qin Gang”, to Egypt and Africa, comes as an indirect Chinese signal to the US side, after holding the African-American Summit at the end of December 2022, of the strength of its relationship with the countries of the African continent, as US Deputy Secretary of Commerce “Don Graves” acknowledged, “  The United States of America lagged behind after China overtook American foreign investment in Africa.

The visit of the Chinese foreign minister reflects the Chinese desire to establish many special economic and investment zones with the African side and to increase the volume of trade exchange between them.  With reference to the growing volume of trade between China and African countries, as it exceeded $255 billion in 2022, compared to the volume of exports and exchanges between the United States of America and Africa.

In addition, the Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang’s emphasis on visiting Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin, Egypt, the headquarters of the African Union and the headquarters of the League of Arab States during his upcoming tour to Egypt and several other African countries reflects the important position occupied by Chinese-Egyptian and Chinese-Arab relations in diplomacy.  China and the strong momentum of their development in recent years.

Egypt is of considering as a particular importance to the Chinese side, given the volume of joint cooperation between them in recent years, through:

The joint cooperation between China and Egypt has achieved a historic leap forward, as China has been Egypt’s largest trading partner for nine consecutive years, and for the Chinese, Egypt is one of the most active and fastest growing countries in the African continent.

The visit of the new Chinese foreign minister to Egypt confirms the desire of the Chinese to progress smoothly and tangibly in their projects in the central business district in the new administrative capital, the express electric train project in the 10th of Ramadan City, and other various projects implemented by Chinese companies in Egypt.

And that visit is also an affirmation by the Chinese side of the importance of Egypt in terms of economic, trade and investment terms for China, in view of what the northwest Suez Canal region provides for economic and trade cooperation between China and Egypt, through the giant Chinese company “TEDA”, which provided more than 40 thousand opportunities.  work for the Egyptians.

Also, this visit by the Chinese Foreign Minister comes as a Chinese confirmation of the completion of the first joint production line for the vaccine against the emerging Corona pandemic in the African continent, by making Egypt a fundamental Chinese regional center for exporting the vaccine, masks and medical respirators to Africa via Egypt, in cooperation, of course, with China.

And that visit to the new Chinese Foreign Minister has special meanings, after the contribution of the Chinese Le Pen workshops to educate and train Egyptian human and technical cadres through the Egyptian-Chinese College of Applied Technology at Suez Canal University, and many young Egyptian cadres graduated through these Chinese workshops.

The visit of the Chinese Foreign Minister is of particular importance for facing serious economic challenges, after the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic, and the slow recovery of the current global economy. Therefore, cooperation between China, Egypt and Africa has become stronger and more popular at the public and popular level.

For the Arab side in general, the upcoming visit of Foreign Minister Qin Gang to the headquarters of the League of Arab States and Egypt is particularly important in the following aspects:

This visit is a Chinese confirmation of what was agreed upon a month ago, after the successful joint Saudi-Arab-Chinese summit was held, and after the first Chinese-Gulf summit was held, which enhances China’s role in the region as the largest diplomatic action in terms of size and level towards the Arab world since  Founding of the People’s Republic of China.

And those visits by the new Chinese foreign minister come as a Chinese affirmation of the importance of “working with all efforts to build the Chinese-Arab community for a common future towards the new era” and to advance joint actions between the two parties.

And those Chinese diplomatic visits symbolize the historical step taken by the Chinese-Arab-African relations, and their entry into the new era in terms of development in an in-depth and comprehensive manner.

Considering also that the total population of China and the Arab and African countries represent more than a quarter of the total world population, and as important members on the international arena, and as a strong conglomeration of developing countries internationally to support China’s views on Taiwan and other issues, which reflects the extent of its influence on China’s international agenda and foreign policy as powers  important in the international arena.

Those Chinese visits to Egypt, the region and African countries have come to confirm that different regions and countries with different cultures and social systems can coordinate and cooperate, learn from their development experiences, and support each other.

The most important thing is the extent of mutual respect between China and the Arab and African countries to respect each other, as well as their non-interference in each other’s internal affairs, their joint collective opposition to that American and Western hegemony over us, their rejection of the policy of resorting to force, in addition to their opposition to those ideological confrontations led by Washington.  In the face of China, Arab, African and developing countries.  Of course, all of this is an important consensus in the relations between China and the Arab and African countries.

In addition, the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and the Arab and African countries set a new standard for the common development of all countries of the world.

Here, China has so far signed cooperation documents on building the “Belt and Road” with 21 Arab countries, and documents of cooperation and joint friendship with the League of Arab States and the African Union, and the two sides have implemented more than 200 cooperative projects in several fields.

Nearly two billion Arab and African citizens have benefited from cooperation with China in building the “Belt and Road”.  In addition to the strategic compatibility between China and the Arab and African countries on all major regional and international issues and opposition to American hegemony over us, in addition to the most important of these enormous potentials and broad prospects for future cooperation between all parties.

 Accordingly, China has a greater desire to resolve African and Arab conflicts, on top of which is the file of the Renaissance Dam crisis, by playing a more positive role, which enhances its African presence and in the Arab environment in an intensive and deep way.

Dr.Nadia Helmy
Dr.Nadia Helmy
Associate Professor of Political Science, Faculty of Politics and Economics / Beni Suef University- Egypt. An Expert in Chinese Politics, Sino-Israeli relationships, and Asian affairs- Visiting Senior Researcher at the Centre for Middle Eastern Studies (CMES)/ Lund University, Sweden- Director of the South and East Asia Studies Unit