Ambassador Ma Xinmin Receives Sudanese Voice's Exclusive Interview

On January 24, Chinese Ambassador to Sudan Ma Xinmin takes an exclusive interview by Sudanese Voice. The full text is as follows:

Q1: Sudan and China share a longstanding friendship. As Sudan underwent a political transformation in April 2019, what is your assessment of future development of the bilateral relations?

A: Since Sudan's political transformation, leaders of China and Sudan have made joint efforts to sustain our friendship. As a result, China-Sudan friendly ties have withstood the test and realized smooth transition and renewal. Especially after the outbreak of COVID-19 in 2020, China-Sudan strategic partnership has forged ahead despite hardships and gained positive momentum for new developments and breakthroughs. To be specific,

First, the two countries have maintained close high-level exchanges, with our solidarity and mutual trust increasingly consolidated. Letters or phone calls between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President of Sudan's Sovereign Council Burhan, between Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Prime Minister of Sudan's transitional government Hamdok, and between State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and his Sudanese counterpart, on the occasion of the 70th and 71st anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China and of the 64th and 65th anniversary of Sudan's independence and after the local outbreak of COVID-19, were exchanged or made to discuss joint COVID-19 response and development of the bilateral ties, adding new substance to deeper strategic partnership between our two sides and charting the course for our further relationship. Last year, President Burhan extended through China Central Television his Chinese New Year greetings to the people of China. At the same time, China and Sudan have been showing each other support on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns, and working closely together to safeguard common interests of developing countries. China has been supporting Sudan's efforts to ensure steady political transition and spoken up for Sudan on international stages for long to firmly safeguard Sudan's legitimate rights and interests.

Second, the two countries have joined hands to fight COVID-19, with our amity upgraded. Joint COVID-19 response has stood out as a highlight of China-Sudan cooperation. To help Sudan handle its increasingly grim epidemic situation, China has overcome various difficulties in its own fight to prevent and contain the virus and done whatever it can, from the central government to local governments, from the Chinese Embassy in Sudan to Chinese enterprises and from governmental and non-governmental organizations, to aid Sudan. China has so far shipped 13 batches of medical supplies to Sudan, which effectively relieve the shortage of medical supplies here. Amid the pandemic, the 35th Chinese medical assistance team to Sudan remained steadfast in assisting with Sudan's battle against COVID-19. In addition, the Chinese government sent in late May last year a medical expert team, the largest of its kind, to provide technical support for and policy-level advice on local epidemic prevention and control, diagnosis and treatment, and emergency management. Their efforts were warmly welcomed and highly appreciated by all sectors in Sudan. President Burhan once said to me that the valuable and prompt assistance from China with Sudan's COVID-19 response is comparable to an oasis in the desert. A friend from Sudanese Ministry of Foreign Affairs also observed that, "it is at this tough moment that we figure out who is our true friend".

Third, the two countries have achieved solid progress in practical cooperation on all fronts, with our people-to-people ties strengthened. Cooperation between China and Sudan on oil, infrastructure, agriculture, mining and other areas has maintained momentum. Despite hardships, satisfactory progress has been made in major cooperation projects, including the official signing of the implementation agreement for the China-aid slaughter house project, the signing of the cooperation agreement between CRRC Ziyang Co., Ltd. and Sudan Railways Corporation, and the signing of the cooperation agreement for exploration and exploitation of mineral resources between Wanbao Mining Ltd. and Sudan's Ministry of Energy and Mining. Besides, the Chinese Embassy established in Sudan three "China-Sudan friendship schools" and three "China-Sudan friendship multimedia classrooms". It also set up the China-Sudan Friendly Exchange and Cooperation Promotion Center jointly with the Association of Arab-Chinese Friendship Societies and the China-Sudan Center for the Promotion of Cultural Exchange jointly with the Sudanese Center of Culture and Development Creativity. This injects new vitality into cultural exchanges and friendship between the two peoples.

Over the past 62 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sudan, our friendly ties remain the top priority. In the face of the pandemic, our two countries pulled together and got through the crisis together, and the people-to-people ties grew closer. Going forward, China will work with Sudan to pursue a shared future and push for new and bigger achievements in our bilateral relations in four respects. First, China-Sudan strategic partnership will be upgraded by continuing to enrich China-Sudan relations. Second, China-Sudan cooperation will be cemented by exploring practical cooperation in wider areas. Third, China-Sudan cultural and people-to-people exchanges will be expanded by understanding accurately the pulse and needs of the two peoples. And fourth, China-Sudan health cooperation will be elevated by proceeding with our joint COVID-19 response. We are confident that guided by leaders of the two countries and with joint efforts from both sides, the bilateral relations are bound to be pushed to a new level.

Q2: Sudan and China have scored fruitful achievements in their cooperation on economic, trade and investment areas since the establishment of diplomatic relations. How would you describe the accomplishments in bilateral cooperation in relevant fields? What is the potential of future cooperation between Sudan and China?

A: Years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Sudan in 1959 have witnessed sustained and healthy development of China-Sudan business ties. Our practical cooperation has yielded fruitful results. China remains as the largest trading partner of Sudan for years in a row. Investment made by more than 130 Chinese enterprises in Sudan has added up to over USD13 billion.

China-Sudan practical cooperation has been proved successful by a considerable number of stories. Our oil cooperation dating back to the 1990s once boosted the rapid growth of the Sudanese economy. China and Sudan collaboratively built a modern oil industry system with an annual capacity to produce 26 million tons of crude oil and refine five million tons of crude oil. Sudan was thus transformed from once an oil-scarce nation into a key oil producer and exporter in Africa. The China-Sudan agricultural development zone set up at the beginning of this century is home to nearly 300,000 hectares of a new cotton variety locally known as "China No.1" cotton, which boosted local harvest and delivered tangible benefits to local farmers. Additionally, four thermal power plants and three hydropower plants jointly built by China and Sudan together provide 70% of Sudan's electricity. More than 90% of anti-malaria drugs in Sudan are supplied by the Shanghai-Sudan Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd.

It is obvious that China-Sudan practical cooperation stands out for three things. First, the purpose of China-Sudan cooperation is to improve people's life. With the main focus on livelihood projects, China-Sudan cooperation has brought benefits to the people of Sudan. The Merowe Dam constructed by the Chinese enterprise, for example, is an improvement to Sudan's water conservancy facilities, when it was put into operation. It ensures local power supply at lower power rates and provides irrigation water for over 66,666.67 hectares of farmland. More than four million Sudanese people have benefited from this project.

Second, the essence of China-Sudan cooperation is to seek win-win results. Our two sides have been making efforts to pursue mutually-beneficial cooperation and common development, rather than seeking self-interest. Let me take China-Sudan oil cooperation as an example. While developing China's oil industry from strength to strength, oil cooperation generated USD60 billion in revenue and USD40 billion earnings in foreign exchange for Sudan. It ushered the Sudanese economy into a golden decade of growth.

Third, the philosophy of China-Sudan cooperation is to help Sudan achieve independent development. As a Chinese saying goes, it is better to teach people how to fish than to just give them fish. Over the course of cooperation with Sudan, China always lays stress on how to help Sudan improve its own capacity for independent development. In the past decades, the Chinese government and enterprises have nurtured a host of technicians and professionals through offering technical training to over 1,000 oil professionals and holding 56 agriculture-related technical training sessions among 255 persons. This gives a boost to Sudan's capabilities of independent development at a higher level.

China-Sudan cooperation has great potential and space for development. Going forward, China is ready to work with Sudan to leverage our respective advantages and explore new growth drivers in the following areas. First, the potential of natural resources enjoyed by Sudan needs to be tapped to nurture and develop industries with distinctive strengths. Endowed with ample natural resources such as land, fresh water, oil, mineral resources and sunshine and having an abundant supply of labor force, Sudan has been a major African country dependent on agriculture, animal husbandry, and energy and mineral resources. It is the home to such cash crops as gum Arabic, cotton, peanuts, sesame and alfalfa and other food crops including sorghum, maize and wheat. Its total livestock inventory has reached 100 million heads. China stands ready to actively explore ways with Sudan for tripartite cooperation among China, Sudan and South Sudan and to enhance bilateral cooperation on agriculture, animal breeding, mining and solar energy, in a bid to facilitate Sudan's economic transformation and upgrading.

Next, the potential of regions adjacent to ocean and rivers needs to be maximized to boost regional economy. Based on some major projects like the operation of the livestock wharf of Port Sudan and the Nile river dredging project, China will collaborate with Sudan in advancing the construction of the Red Sea special economic zone, exploiting shipping and tourism resources along the Nile river and discussing the construction of the Red Sea freight distribution center.

Last but not least, infrastructure cooperation needs to be cemented to improve the weak links in Sudan's infrastructure. China will consult with Sudan about actions to push forward the implementation of projects like the new Khartoum International Airport and the Beidou satellite navigation program. China will also work with Sudan to deepen bilateral cooperation on soft infrastructure in health and education, new infrastructure in information technology and hard infrastructure in railways and other means of transportation, in an effort to steer Belt and Road cooperation between our two nations towards high-quality and sustainable development and improvement in people's living conditions.

Q3: Not long ago, the implementation agreement for the China-aid slaughter house project was officially signed by you and the representative of the Sudanese government. China is reportedly poised to build a USD72 million modern slaughter house in Omdurman of Sudan. How do you describe the role of this project in lifting Sudan's economy?

A: The China-aid slaughter house project is a priority in strategic agricultural cooperation between the two countries. The official signing of the implementation agreement for this project is a new achievement in China-Sudan practical cooperation. More importantly, it is a symbol of the close and profound friendship between our two countries and the two peoples. Given that Sudan is a major agricultural and animal-breeding country, this project is of profound significance in promoting the development of Sudan's agricultural and animal husbandry sectors and revitalizing its economy.

It will spearhead the development of Sudan's animal husbandry and stimulate the transformation and upgrading of this sector. The slaughter house, designed at modern and high standards, will function to process high value-added byproducts. Once completed, the slaughter house will have the capacity to slaughter approximately 144,000 head of cattle or camel and 600,000 head of goats. This will enable Sudan to acquire much greater capabilities for meat processing, produce products of higher added value and expand its export. Sudan's foreign currency earnings from export will be richly rewarded by this project. At the same time, the project will fuel the upstream pasture planting and the building of downstream links such as processing, packaging, cold chain delivery and storage of meat products, helping Sudan build a modern complete-industry-chain for its animal husbandry. This will lay a solid foundation for future expansion of its animal husbandry industry chain and development of the animal husbandry industrial park, and is helpful in evolving animal husbandry into Sudan's economic mainstay.

Also, it will bring benefits to Sudanese farmers and herdsmen and improve their life. As the mainstay of Sudan's economy, agriculture and animal husbandry contribute to one third of its gross domestic product and 40% of local employment. Local farmers and herdsmen remain dependent on livestock for their livelihoods. This project, once successfully implemented, will promote employment among locals and also improve the production and income of local farmers and herdsmen. They will receive tangible benefits from this project.

We hope the slaughter house project could be implemented at an early date, so that it could deliver benefits to the people of Sudan and contribute its share to Sudan's economic revival.

Q4: Multiple places in the world is now hit by the second wave of COVID-19 infections. In what way is China's successful experience in containing the virus relevant to other countries for their fight against COVID-19 second wave? The Chinese medical expert team sent by the Chinese government in May 2020 to aid Sudan with COVID-19 response was broadly welcomed by all sectors in Sudan. Are there any cooperation programs regarding epidemic prevention and control between the two sides in the near future?

A: China is the first country to effectively bring the epidemic under control and to reopen businesses. China is also the first country worldwide to resume positive growth, making itself the only major economy worldwide to achieve positive economic growth this year. As the spokesperson of China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs once said, there is no magic in China's anti-epidemic response. We have the spirit of combating the COVID-19 epidemic, which features putting people's lives first, nationwide solidarity, heroic self-sacrifice, respecting science, and a sense of mission for humanity.

China's success in beating the virus is attributed to both correct policies and the right approach. Our policies observe three important principles. The first is putting people and their lives above everything else. People's life and health were put front and center, as we believe life outweighs economic benefits.

The second is putting public interests first. Public health security takes precedence over personal freedom. People were encouraged to sacrifice their personal interests for public good.

The third is upholding the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind. We advocate that in the face of COVID-19 pandemic, countries are interconnected with a common stake. China always links its future to that of the world. At a time when our country was still grappling with the virus, we launched the largest humanitarian campaign since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949. We have provided assistance to over 150 countries and 10 international organizations and sent 36 expert teams to 34 countries in need. As the world's largest manufacturer of medical supplies, we have provided countries around the world with over 220 billion masks, 2.3 billion protective suits and one billion testing kits. We have also advanced R&D collaboration on drugs and vaccines and cross-border prevention and control. These are but a few examples of China's strong desire to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

As for concrete measures, China focuses on prevention and strictly observes the principle of early detection, reporting, quarantine and treatment. The infected were treated in designated hospitals by top-level doctors and with all necessary resources guaranteed. China has done everything possible to ensure all patients in need are hospitalized and treated, with every person's life treasured.

Mutual support and solidarity showed by China and Sudan in the fight against COVID-19 set a new benchmark for international anti-epidemic cooperation and lift the bilateral relations to a new height. Given the second wave of infection cases are now emerging across the globe, epidemic prevention and control remains the pressing challenge faced by China and Sudan. China stands ready to deepen medical and health cooperation with Sudan and to give Sudan firm support till our final victory over the coronavirus. Looking ahead, we will strengthen cooperation with Sudan in three aspects.

At the outset, we will continue to support Sudan's COVID-19 response. China will continue providing assistance of medical supplies to Sudan and promoting the sharing of anti-epidemic experience between our two sides. China will also enhance bilateral cooperation on public health capacity building to help Sudan improve its capabilities to handle major diseases.

Next, we will continue to offer medical assistance to Sudan. The role of the 36th Chinese medical assistance team to Sudan, the China-Sudan Friendship Hospital and the cooperation mechanism for pairing Chinese and Sudanese hospitals needs to be effectively leveraged to help Sudan optimize its medical and public health governance.

And finally, we will make efforts to have Sudan benefit from China's COVID-19 vaccines. We will honor the firm commitment to making our vaccines a global public good. We are ready to cooperate with Sudan and other African countries on vaccines and make vaccines accessible and affordable in Africa. At present, Chinese enterprises engaged in R&D and production of vaccines are contacting health and drug regulators of Sudan. China expects an early approval to launch China's safe and effective vaccines in Sudan for the good of its people.

Q5: Cultural and people-to-people exchanges play a vital role in promoting relations between and among different countries. What does Sudan and China need to do to strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges for higher-level bilateral relations?

A: Cultural and people-to-people interactions make the people of China and Sudan increasingly closer. China-Sudan relations take root among the two peoples. The ultimate reason for the longstanding and even firmer relations between our two nations lies in the sincere friendship and close ties between the two peoples. This wins firm public support for the bilateral relations. Over the past 62 years since our two countries established diplomatic relations, cultural and people-to-people exchanges have been fruitful. As early as five decades ago, China's Wuhan Acrobatics Troupe started to nurture acrobats and folk musicians for Sudan, based on which the Sudan Acrobatics Troupe was established later. Sudan Acrobatics Troupe, hailed as the flower of Sudan-China friendship, is the first of its kind in African and Arab countries. China-Sudan educational cooperation also achieved very good results. China has long cultivated professionals for the Sudanese side. In the ensuing years after the establishment of diplomatic relations between our two sides, the number of Sudanese students returning home after studying in China has topped 1,800, and over ten thousand trainees have received technical trainning in China. They now serve as the leading force and backbone in various sectors to contribute their share to Sudan's economic and social development. Since 2009, the Confucius Institute has collaborated with the Chinese Language Department of University of Khartoum, Karary University and University of Bahri in running language schools, where a total of nearly 30,000 students have studied the Chinese language. Among them are postgraduates and undergraduates who specialize in Chinese language, and a host of Chinese language talents for governmental agencies, primary and secondary schools, and enterprises in Sudan.

Standing at a new historic starting point, China-Sudan relations need to be committed to cultural exchanges and cooperation with higher quality and efficiency. For this to happen, we need to take actions primarily from two perspectives.

First, cultural and people-to-people exchanges need to be expanded into wider areas. Efforts will be made to create a multi-layered network of exchanges that covers all classes of society and various spheres, ranging from the central government to local governments, from governmental to non-governmental organizations, from professionals to people at the community level, from institutes of higher learning to primary and secondary schools, and from political, economic and military areas to educational, scientific, cultural and health sectors.

Second, cultural and people-to-people exchanges need to be deepened. As Sudan's Ministry of Education intends to open Chinese language courses in secondary schools, we would like to take it as an opportunity to expand our exchanges and cooperation on Chinese language teaching, which will be a source of constant momentum to boost our bilateral relations. To cement exchanges in education and training, we will offer more opportunities for studies and training to people from various sectors of Sudan. We will take an active approach to promoting wider cooperation on research among Chinese and Sudanese universities, colleges and think tanks. In response to enthusiasm among locals for Chinese culture, we will continue to organize wonderful cultural activities such as Happy Spring Festival Ensemble performances and Insight of China exhibitions. We will also arrange for young political leaders, well-known broadcasters and reporters and outstanding primary and secondary school teachers in Sudan to visit China in due course.

Q6: The Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) proposed by China in 2013, as we know, involves a wide range of areas, not only economic but also social and cultural spheres. Could you please share us with the practical significance of Belt and Road cooperation between China and Sudan?

A: Promoting policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity is what the BRI is all about. Promoting Belt and Road cooperation worldwide entails efforts on such connectivity to build wider consensus for higher-level cooperation. Policy connectivity is aimed at seeking stronger complementarity between policies and plans and fostering the coordinated development of relevant countries. This will lay an increasingly solid political foundation for BRI. Infrastructure connectivity is aimed at constantly improving the infrastructure network for BRI through major programs and key projects. Trade connectivity is aimed at promoting trade and investment liberalization and facilitation to inject continual vitality into win-win cooperation. Financial connectivity is aimed at deepening financial cooperation for a thorough diversified investment and financing system for BRI. And people-to-people connectivity is aimed at building bridges of friendship between different countries. This will contribute to mutual learning and understanding between civilizations and closer affinity among people around the world.

Sudan was one of the first countries to actively respond to China's BRI and to sign the agreement with China on Belt and Road cooperation. BRI is not only a bond that carries forward our friendly ties for thousands of years, but also a channel toward a new chapter of our cooperation. About 2,000 years ago, China and the Arab world were connected by the Silk Road for trading and mutual learning, making a unique contribution to the progress of human civilization. Today, Belt and Road cooperation between China and Sudan is bound to add new impetus and create new opportunities to the bilateral relations. We will enrich our friendship in keeping up with the times.

First, Belt and Road cooperation between our two sides will strengthen our bond of shared interests and facilitate Sudan's integration into the international development landscape. Belt and Road cooperation will not only connect our countries' development but also link our development to regional and global economy. Through Belt and Road cooperation, Sudan will acquire stronger inherent force to drive its economic and social development in wider areas.

Second, Belt and Road cooperation between our two sides will greatly promote policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity between our two nations and open up a new horizon for China-Sudan relations. Belt and Road cooperation will stimulate our cooperation in policy, infrastructure, trade, financial and people-to-people connectivity, which will give a new opportunity for enhanced cooperation in various areas.

We believe that with our joint efforts, BRI will certainly play its role as the bridge for our mutually beneficial cooperation, a bond for shared prosperity and a model for mutual learning.

Q7: What is your assessment of Sudan's development prospects after it is removed from the US state sponsor of terrorism list?

A: Taking Sudan off the US list of state sponsors of terrorism means that aid, financial and other sanctions will be lifted. This is good news for Sudan long troubled by its economic plight. The removal will shore up people's confidence in Sudan's economic prosperity and break the bottlenecks for Sudan's integration into the international financial system. The people of Sudan are industrious and intelligent. Sudan, with rich natural resource endowment and its favorable location, has a broad domestic market. Economic development in various fields enjoy a huge potential. We are confident that, reunited with the big global family, Sudan will surely embark on a journey toward rejuvenation under the strong leadership of the Sudanese government and with the aid of the international community.

However, it is noteworthy that robust economic recovery and social development cannot be achieved overnight, just as drought cannot be eliminated instantly by drizzle. China's success story of leapfrog development achieved in the past four decades and more of reform and opening up reveals that three elements are vital to a country's movement into the fast lane of steady economic and social development.

First, key engines are essential for economic growth. As pillar industries form the basis of sustainable economic development, it is highly relevant to develop pillar industries and create drivers of steady growth. Only in this way could economic development gain endless momentum. Rich in fresh water and energy resources on its vast land, Sudan needs to take measures in line with local conditions to tap the enormous potential of its agriculture, animal husbandry and mining industries and develop them into the economic mainstay.

Second, a set of policies tailored to national circumstances are indispensable. China adheres to the policies for reform and opening up and for innovation-driven development. As Chinese President Xi Jinping remarked, reform and opening-up was the key maneuver for determining the fate of contemporary China. Without reform at home and opening-up to the outside world, there would be no Chinese socialism, and the flourishing China we see today would not exist. China's success story has driven home the fact that while adhering to opening up, we need to share experience with each other and learn widely from the strengths of others.

Third, sound internal and external environment is vital to development. China's achievements are attributed to long-term peace and stability at home and favorable environment in the globe. Maintaining stability is of top priority. Only by ensuring national stability to create a favorable investment and financing environment will economic and social development become possible. Flames of war and seclusion will yield no development results.

Q8: What is your expectation of the prospects of Sudan-China relations in 2021?

A: Sudan serves as the gateway to Africa and provides a link between Asia and Africa. Located on the African continent, Sudan is an Arab and Islamic country with vast potential and space of development. China pays great attention to Sudan's development and its relations with Sudan. Guided by leaders of both countries, our bilateral relations have seen continual and healthy growth. It is universally recognized among all sectors of China and Sudan that we need to carry forward and deepen our friendly cooperation. 2021 is the starting year of China's new journey of fully building a modern socialist country, and is also crucial for Sudan to realize smooth transition. As the second wave of outbreak is raging across the globe, we will work shoulder by shoulder with Sudan this year to pursue common development and a shared future. For this purpose, I would like to share my four hopes.

First, we call on both countries to fight COVID-19 with solidarity and jointly push for new progress in our public health cooperation. China will use the opportunity of cooperation against COVID-19 to deepen our medical and health cooperation, implement the initiatives and proposals announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping at the opening of the 73rd World Health Assembly and at the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19, push ahead the health programs under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), and advance the upgrading of existing programs such as the Chinese medical assistance team program and the China-Sudan Friendship Hospital program. Our cooperation on public health governance, capacity building and medical infrastructure will be stepped up.

Second, we call on both countries to bring exchanges to normal and jointly elevate our strategic partnership to a new height. To implement the consensus reached by leaders of our two sides and carry forward and develop our traditional friendship, we need to maintain close top-level interactions and expand our exchanges in political parties, governments, legislatures, military affairs and local governments. We also need to continue our support on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns and improve coordination in international and regional affairs, in order to safeguard our common interests.

Third, we call on both countries to ensure an early implementation of more cooperation projects and jointly make our practical cooperation score new achievements. We need to enhance cooperation in three major areas, namely agricultural, animal-breeding, energy and mining sectors, economy of regions bordering the Red Sea and the Nile, and infrastructure like railways and satellite navigation. We expect active progress in the tripartite oil cooperation among China, Sudan and South Sudan and early delivery of the slaughter house project, the locomotive project and the mining project engaging Wanbao Mining Ltd.

Fourth, we call on both countries to get cultural and people-to-people exchanges back on rails and jointly make our people-to-people ties closer. China is ready to actively implement the follow-up actions of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit. In particular, the "eight major initiatives" such as the capacity building initiative and the people-to-people exchange initiative will be pushed ahead in Sudan to further expand our dialogue and exchanges in education and culture and among youth, women, media, think tanks and schools. The Chinese Embassy in Sudan is pleased to make friends with people from all walks of life in Sudan. We hope platforms launched by the embassy like the ambassador's column known as "China Focus" and the "Chinese Teahouse" salon will contribute to better mutual understanding between our two peoples, the China-Sudan friendship schools and the Chinese Ambassador Book House set up by the embassy will renew and enhance friendship between our two peoples, and the "China-Sudan State Governance: Practice and Experience" international seminars will deepen mutual learning. This year marks the 50th birthday of the Sudan Acrobatics Troupe established with China's assistance. It is also the 50th year that China sends its medical assistance team to Sudan. Commemorative events will be organized to renew our friendship based on past achievements. Besides, China is ready to make good preparations, together with Sudan, for this year's FOCAC meeting scheduled in Senegal. As an upholder of multilateralism, we will safeguard the shared interests of developing countries at the meeting and make China-Sudan and China-Africa cooperation in the post-COVID era thrive with higher quality and bring more benefits to the people.

As a Chinese poem reads, "evergreen pine trees do not shed leaves in the cold, and limpid sea water flows towards an endless expanse of blue". We firmly believe that the day will come when we finally beat COVID-19. We sincerely hope Sudan will achieve economic recovery at an early date after its removal from the state sponsor of terrorism list, and have confidence in Sudan's ability to ensure a smooth political transition and accomplish the objectives set in the Constitutional Declaration and in the Juba Peace Agreement. I wish our two countries to be intact, peaceful and prosperous, and the two peoples a harmonious, smooth and auspicious year, full of happiness.

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