The Deputy Chief of the Joint Staff Department at the Central Military Commission of the People’s Republic of China, General Wang Guanzhong, paid a courtesy call to President Danny Faure at State House yesterday. General Wang and his delegation are in Seychelles to pursue discussions and explore new avenues to enhance the bilateral cooperation between Seychelles and China in the field of defence.
President Faure welcomed General Wang on his first visit to the country and said that Seychelles remains grateful for all the support provided by the Government of the People’s Republic of China, especially in its difficult moments. The President reaffirmed that he wants to consolidate what his predecessors have done in other areas, particularly the socio-economic development of Seychelles.
“The story of the development of Seychelles cannot be taken for granted without making reference to all the contributions from China. Because of the work of President Michel, we now have people-to-people contact in tourism and have tourists from China coming to visit us. I want to consolidate the socio-economic needs of our country; the institutions, state-to-state and military-to-military cooperation, but I also want to build on commerce and trade so that the economies can sustain development,” said President Faure, who is also the Minister for Defence, and Commander-in-Chief of the Seychelles People’s Defence Forces.
The President also expressed his wish to increase cooperation with the Chinese military to help shape the structure of the defence forces of Seychelles so that it helps the community.
During the meeting, General Wang also briefed the President on his meeting with the Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Leopold Payet. They also had lengthy discussions on possible future cooperation with the Chinese military through exchange of personnel, training, equipment, and high level exchange visits between Seychelles and China.
Defence cooperation between Seychelles and China has progressively increased since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding on Defence Cooperation in October 2004.
“I would like thank you for your meeting with Brigadier Payet and for all the initiatives that you have proposed. We would like to thank the Government of the People’s Republic of China for all the support we have received with our military in very difficult times when we were faced with piracy. We welcome that you will be sending more of your naval ships here in Seychelles for replenishing. All of this shows that we have an excellent relationship,” said President Faure.
The President also paid tribute to all that the Chinese military is doing for mainland Africa where he said that China has played a gigantic role in its development.
Also in attendance at the meeting was the Secretary of State in the Department of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Barry Faure, Diplomatic Advisor to the President, Ambassador Callixte D’offay, Military Attaché at the Department of Foreign Affairs, Lieutenant Colonel Georges Adeline, Deputy Chief Office of International Military Cooperation in China, Major General Hu Changming, Staff Officer Joint Staff Department in China, Colonel Cai Xiaoyong, Staff Officer Office of International Military Cooperation in China, Lieutenant Colonel Li Jia, Staff Officer Office of International Military Cooperation in China, Major Su Mingyang, and the Charge d’Affaires at the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China in Seychelles, Mr. Zhang Xiangyang.