|Interview: China, Republic of Congo enjoy bright future for bilateral relations|
BRAZZAVILLE, March 27 (Xinhua) -- China and the Republic of the Congo have a bright future for their relations thanks to the deepening bilateral friendship and cooperation, says the Chinese ambassador.
The two countries enjoy a long friendship that has resulted in "fruitful, deep and solid cooperation, hailed by both the Congolese government and the people," Guan Jian said in a recent interview with Xinhua.
The two sides have maintained friendly ties and good cooperation under both bilateral and multilateral frameworks since they forged diplomatic ties almost five decades ago, Guan said.
They have consistently backed each other during tough times, he said, recalling that China aided Congo after a weapons depot explosion in Brazzaville last March and that Congo donated 1 million U.S. dollars to China after a devastating earthquake in Sichuan province in 2008.
The two sides, he added, have also made remarkable achievements in cooperation in economy and trade, culture, education, health care and media, which have not only facilitated the development of Congo but brought benefits to China.
According to statistics from China's customs authorities, bilateral trade jumped to 5.08 billion dollars in 2012 from 290 million dollars in 2002, and China has become Congo's largest trading partner.
Moreover, he said, the Congolese people, especially the young, are "thirsty" for Chinese culture. The establishment of the Confucius Institute at the Marien Ngouabi University, among others, would offer the Congolese public an easier access to Chinese culture, he added.
Looking ahead, the ambassador said he is confident about the future of cooperation between China and the Republic of the Congo.
"Under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, China will intensify cooperation to improve the livelihood of the Congolese people and the country's capability of self-development," he said.
"China will also assist Congo in carrying out certain projects according to the country's needs to spread the fruits of cooperation among the public," he said.
The two countries, he added, will further increase people-to-people exchanges and encourage partnerships between non-governmental organizations so as to cement the foundation of their bilateral ties.
The Republic of the Congo is the last leg of Chinese President Xi Jinping's ongoing maiden trip abroad as president, which also includes Russia, Tanzania and South Africa.