BEIJING --- China and Djibouti on Thursday agreed to establish strategic partnership to strengthen all-round cooperation.
The announcement came as Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with Djibouti President Ismail Omar Guelleh at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.
Guelleh is the first head of state of an African country to visit China since the conclusion of the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC) in October.
Stressing that China attaches great importance to relations with Djibouti, Xi said the two countries have always treated each other with equality and showed mutual respect and support since the establishment of diplomatic ties 38 years ago.
China is willing to work with Djibouti to speed up the implementation of the results of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), jointly forge ahead with Belt and Road construction, and fully strengthen bilateral cooperation in all fields, said Xi.
China welcomes Djibouti to participate in the Belt and Road construction, and is ready to advance cooperation on infrastructure projects including railways, ports, water supply, liquefied natural gas pipeline, as well as building of a free trade area and cooperation in agriculture, Xi said.
Guelleh, who is on a state visit to China from Wednesday to Friday, said he was very pleased to be the first head of state of an African country to visit China since the 19th CPC National Congress and congratulated Xi on his re-election as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
Calling Djibouti "a good friend of China," Guelleh said his country views China as a top-priority and indispensable partner.
He expressed satisfaction with the development of bilateral ties over the past three decades and more, and thanked China for its assistance and support to Djibouti.
Djibouti would like to take an active part in the Belt and Road Initiative, and enhance cooperation with China on infrastructure and areas important to people's livelihood, he said.
The two countries signed deals on economic, technical and agricultural cooperation after the talks.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: Djibouti, a former French territory on the Horn of Africa, already hosts a Chinese military base completed last year in addition to military bases maintained by France and, more recently, the United States.)