By Lawrence Olaoye
President Muhammadu Buhari has sent warm greetings to President Xi Jinping and all citizens of People’s Republic of China home and abroad, as they celebrate the Chinese Lunar Year from January 25.
According to a statement made available to newsmen yesterday by his spokesman, Femi Adesina, Buhari, in a formal letter, recounted the strides being taken in Nigeria-China relations, and said “we have new opportunities for mutual benefits.”
The letter read: “As celebrations of the Chinese Year of the Rat by Chinese community in Nigeria and across the world commence on 25th January this year, on behalf of the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I extend my warmest and most sincere greetings and wishes to you and the Chinese people for a promising and auspicious Lunar New Year.
“In the past year, the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China was warmly celebrated. The tremendous achievements made by the Chinese people fully demonstrate that China has found the successful development path that fits its national reality.
“The past year has also been a productive one for China-Nigeria relations. The all-round, wide-ranging and high-quality bilateral cooperation between Nigeria and China has been further intensified, and our belief in the One China policy re-affirmed. There is a new impetus in Nigeria-China relations and we have new opportunities for mutual benefits.
“I note that 2020 marks the year China will finish building a moderately prosperous society in all respects and the final year of the 13th Five-Year Plan. We are delighted that China is making positive progress, setting a good example for developing countries to pursue their own development goals.
“This year is also the 20th anniversary of Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). We are delighted to see that FOCAC has become an effective platform between Nigeria and China and achieved major progress of boosting concrete trade and cooperation and benefiting people of both countries.
“I understand that the rat is the first sign from the cycle of Chinese Astrology that makes 2020 a year of new beginnings and renewals. I would like to take this as a new outset to work with China hand in hand to develop the Belt and Road Initiative, further implement the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, and promote the Nigeria-China strategic partnership to a new level.
While wishing that the Year of the Rat witnesses the common development of our two countries and a better life of our peoples, please accept, Your Excellency, the assurances of my highest esteem and personal regards.”