Chinese President Xi Jinping takes part in a meeting with his French counterpart at the Elysee Palace in Paris, on March 26, 2014 in Paris. Xi was set today to sign a series of major business deals on the second day of a lavish state visit to France.  Xi is on his first-ever European tour and after visiting The Netherlands and France will head to Germany and Belgium.   AFP PHOTO POOL CHRISTOPHE ENA

China’s Jinping says he’s ready to work with Gambia’s Barrow

Chinese President Xi Jinping said he is ready to work with The Gambia’s President-elect Adama Barrow to deepen bilateral relations, as barrow hints the country will be reverting to its non-alignment foreign policy.

“I attach great importance to the development of China-Gambia relations and stand ready to work with you to continuously deepen bilateral relations so as to bring more benefits the two peoples,” President Jinping said in a congratulatory message to Mr. Barrow.

The Gambia resumed relations with China last Spring and has since signed some cooperation agreements. China had survived The Gambia’s seaport for a deepwater port expansion, building of a conference center and has given a full scholarship to a dozen Gambian students to study in the Asian nation.

China’s government said that the reestablishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries is in line with the trend of the times and conforms with the fundamental interests of the two countries and their peoples.

The Gambia severed ties with Taiwan in 2013 after a 15-year checkbook diplomatic relation. President Yahya Jammeh severed ties with Jammeh when he came to power in 1994, but since the resumption of Banjul-Beijing relations, Jammeh has supported China’s position in the South China Sea crisis.

Opposition candidate Adama Barrow on Friday won Gambia’s presidential election, defeating President Yahya Jammeh, who has been ruling the West African nation for 22 years.

(Reporting by Mustapha Darboe; Writing by Sam Phatey; Editing by Sainey MK Marenah)

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