The president of minerals-rich Democratic Republic of Congo, Felix Tshisekedi, will visit China from May 24 to 29 and is expected to meet President Xi Jinping to review and sign several key trade deals.
The visit – announced by the Foreign Ministry on Monday – would pave the way for the two countries to formally overhaul and seal a US$6 billion infrastructure-for-minerals deal with Chinese investors.
Foreign Minister Qin Gang on Monday met Congo’s Vice Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Christophe Lutundula.
During the meeting in Beijing, Qin noted China and Congo “are good friends and brothers that enjoy a time-honoured friendship”, and that Beijing warmly welcomes Tshisekedi's upcoming state visit.
Qin also pointed out that China has been the largest trading partner and source of investment to Congo – the world's largest producer of battery material cobalt – for many consecutive years.
Meanwhile, Congo government spokesman Patrick Muyaya had said the visit will strengthen cooperation between the two countries.
"We want to build new relations with China, on sound foundations," Muyaya said.
Tshisekedi had instructed his government at a cabinet meeting on May 19 to move ahead with talks on the deal with Chinese counterparts after the government and other stakeholders "consolidated their position", a government statement said.
He informed cabinet members that a task force looking at the deal had submitted its conclusions, enabling discussions with Chinese partners to commence in the coming days.
Tshisekedi is also expected to meet Premier Li Qiang and Zhao Leji, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress during the visit. (Reuters/Xinhua)