As August draws to its end, Beijing has come to enjoy an invigorating and refreshing autumn climate. In the Islamic world, meanwhile, people have not yet said final goodbye to the jubilee of the annual festival of fast-breaking. It is precisely at such a time of happiness and joy that Mohamed Morsy, the new Egyptian president who took the office less than two months ago, will pay a state visit to China, a trip that has aroused extensive attention from various circles for its profound and far-reaching importance.
Elected by his people after the great changes sweeping across West Asia and North Africa, Morsy is the first civilian president in Egypt since it became a republic more than half a century ago. He is also the first president in Egypt’s history who has won the presidency through a general election. The great wave started by the Egyptian people brought down the strongman Mubarak after he had ruled the country for more than 30 years. With almost everything waiting to be improved after abolishing the old system, Egypt is now searching for a new path of democratic development that best fits its national conditions. Taking China as the first non-Arabic destination of his foreign visit after coming to office, President Morsy is telling the world the great importance Egypt attaches to the development of Sino-Egyptian relations.
Egypt was the first Arabic and African country to establish diplomatic relations with New China. Ever since then, bilateral relations between the two countries have enjoyed healthy and stable development, and rich results have been achieved in their cooperation in various fields. In all matters of bilateral and regional interest, China and Egypt have not only kept in close contact and communication with each other, but also started sound cooperation through various mechanisms and platforms. As a show of the importance they attach to the development of strategic partnership and friendly cooperation between China and Egypt as well as their congratulation and support to President Morsy, Chinese leaders are ready to give him a warmhearted and grand welcome. President Morsy’s China visit will set a new milestone in Sino-Egyptian relations and push their development into a greater depth.
There is also another facet of the great importance of President Morsy’s coming visit, as seen by this author. The mass movement starting to sweep across Egypt early last year has brought about a revolutionary change in the Egyptian society, a most profound one since the country’s win of independence more than half a century ago. From the very beginning, China has articulated its readiness to respect the wish and choice of the Egyptian people who, with a long history, surely have the ability and wisdom to secure a peaceful solution of their problems, and China also expressed its opposition to interference by any external forces in Egypt’s internal affairs. China meant what it said. As Egypt’s friend, while watching closely Egyp’s development, China has given the political support and the aid in its capacity to Egypt in transition.
Since the Chinese and the Egyptian people constitute the foundation of lasting Sino-Egyptian friendship, Sino-Egyptian relations maintained their momentum of steady development even during the time of power change and social transformation in Egypt. Needless to say, President Morsy’s coming visit to China exemplifies the fact that the principle of mutual respect and non-inference in each other’s internal affairs remains the cornerstone of Sino-Egyption relations. Whatever changes take place in the international or regional arena, China will always remain Egypt’s most important strategic partner. Given the world situation that has become so complicated and so changeable today, to further consolidate and develop the strategic partnership between China and Egypt will be of great significance. Among the officials accompanying President Morsy in his China visit, the ministers in charge of economic departments are most eye-catching. Admiring the fast-track development of the Chinese economy, many Egyptians earnestly hope that they can benefit from China’s experiences during their search for a development path suitable to their own country.
Both as ancient civilizations, China and Egypt also stand for diversity of civilizations, .mutual respect between different civilizations, and exchange and mutual supplementation on an equal footing for the development and prosperity of human civilizations and harmonic co-existence of mankind. China is a country boasting a large number of ethnic groups and practicing a great variety of religions, and its civilization is highly inclusive and open. Winning the presidential election in the capacity of Chairman of the Freedom and Justice Party, the political party of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood, President Morsy represents both the ancient Egyptian and the time-honored Islamic civilizations at the same time. It can be believed that during his stay in China, joint promotion of dialogue between the Chinese civilization and the Islamic civilization will be a key topic in the talks between the host and the guest, apart from discussion of ways and measures for political and economic cooperation boost. With a big push to exchanges and cooperation between China and Egypt in cultural, education and other fields expectable, President Morsy’s China visit will create a valuable instance of the exchange and mutual supplementation between two different civilizations.
Wu Sike is a member on the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference and member on the Foreign Policy Consulting Commmittee of the Ministry of Foreign Afairs