On December 1, 2011, visiting Chinese State Councilor Liu Yandong held talks with Botswana Vice President Mompati Merafhe in Gaborone.
In their meeting, Liu conveyed the cordial greetings and good wishes from Vice President Xi Jinping to Merafhe. She said the past 36 years have witnessed the healthy development of bilateral friendly cooperative relations with increasing political trust, steadily advancing pragmatic cooperation in all areas and close coordination in international affairs. Botswana has already become China's important trade partner in Africa. The fruitful cooperation of mutual benefit has enriched the connotations of bilateral ties.
Liu said to further strengthen humanities cooperation, the Chinese side proposed both sides implement the 2010-2013 agreement on cultural cooperation between Botswana and China, expand bilateral cultural exchanges and mutual learning, deepen cooperation in education and training and make the best use of the resources of the Confucius Institute based in the University of Botswana. Liu encouraged scientific research organizations and researchers in Botswana to participate in the exchange and cooperation programs under the China-Africa Science and Technology Partnership Program (CASTEP) to share outcomes of scientific and technological development.
Liu said that strengthening China-Africa friendly cooperative relations is an important cornerstone of China's foreign policy, as well as a long-term and firm strategic choice. China is ready to work with African countries including Botswana and take the opportunities of fully implementing the outcomes of the fourth Ministerial Meeting of China-Africa Cooperation Forum and preparing for next year's fifth Ministerial Meeting to continue to promote the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership to a new level.
For his part, Merafhe asked Liu to convey his good wishes to Vice President Xi. He said Botswana and China share the same value of mutual understanding and equality of countries. Both sides have always maintained sincere, close cooperation in international affairs as well as in economic and trade exchanges. Investment, training and job opportunities provided by China have contributed to Botswana's economic growth. He said Botswana, like other African countries, has benefitted greatly from the mechanism of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum. He said there is broad prospect for bilateral humanities cooperation and Botswana is looking forward to enhancing cooperation with China in this aspect.
Following the talks, Merafhe and Liu also attended the signing ceremony of the agreement on economic and technological cooperation and other cooperation documents. Accompanied by the minister of culture of Botswana, Liu also attended the opening ceremony for Exhibition of China in African Painters' Eyes.