China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi will this week visit Egypt and Tunisia, Beijing said on Thursday, as part of a four-country Africa tour before he heads to Brazil and Jamaica, Arab News reports.
Wang’s first trip of the new year comes as China increasingly focuses on ties in the Global South, seeking to bolster its influence in regions traditionally dominated by the US and its allies.
Wang’s Africa trip, which will also include Togo and Cote d’Ivoire, will take place from Jan.13 to 18, the foreign ministry said.
China has historically been sympathetic to the Palestinian cause and supportive of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
President Xi Jinping has called for an “international peace conference” to resolve the fighting.
It continues a 34-year tradition of Chinese foreign ministers traveling to Africa on their first trip of the new year.
It will “continue the traditional friendship between China and Africa and consolidate China-Africa solidarity and cooperation,” Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning told a regular press briefing.
From Jan. 18 to 22, Wang will then visit Brazil and Jamaica — two countries that “have the same or similar positions on many regional and international issues,” said Mao.
“We will take this opportunity to strengthen further the foundation of mutual political trust with the two countries (and) deepen mutually beneficial friendly cooperation in various fields,” she added.
Wang’s overseas travel will coincide with a trip abroad by another top Chinese official, Premier Li Qiang, this week.
Li will visit Switzerland from Sunday to Wednesday, the Foreign Ministry said, where he will attend the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2024 and carry out a state visit.
He will also visit Ireland on the invitation of Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, Mao said.