The Ambassador of the Peoples Republic of China to Nigeria, Zhou Pingjian has asked Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, to lend its backing to Nigeria’s full compliance to the ‘One China Policy’ between both countries.
Pingjian made this request when he paid a courtesy visit on the National Chairman of the APC, John Odigie-Oyegun in Abuja, accompanied by his deputy, Jing Lin and Political Officer, Peng Chen.
During the visit, the Chinese Ambassador briefed Odigie-Oyegun and other members of the APC National Working Committee, NWC, who were present, on China’s domestic politics as well as the strategic bilateral relations between China-Nigeria.
Pingjian also noted that there could be areas of cooperation and collaboration between the governing parties of both countries – the APC and the Communist Party of China, CPC.
“This year is a big one for party politics in China. Every five years, we hold party conventions where we draw a new blueprint for the years ahead,” the ambassador said.
“That means major policy decisions will be made at the National Congress of the Communist Party of China.
“A new Central Committee will be elected at the congress. The central committee will in turn elect the new central leadership,” he explained.
Throwing more light on the One China Policy, Pingjian said that a United Nations 1971 resolution ensured the Communist Peoples Republic of China -commonly known as ‘mainland China’ – assumed the Republic of China’s (Taiwan) place in the General Assembly as well as its place as one of the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council.
He said: “China and Nigeria has been very good friends since 1971. That year we set up diplomatic relations and that year, Nigeria was one of the twenty-three countries who supported the United Nations General Assembly’s vote to admit the People’s Republic of China.
“Unfortunately, in 1999, Nigeria’s ministry of commerce signed a Memorandum of Understanding with Taiwan which led to the setting up of a Trade mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) in Nigeria. That is two Chinas.
“For years, we have kept the pressure on Nigeria. Last year President Muhammadu Buhari was in Beijing for a state visit and the Chinese President, raised the issue.
“Upon resumption to Nigeria, President Buhari sent out directives to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to honour and implement Nigeria’s One China policy.
“Nigeria’s policy is one China but unfortunately, it has not been fully executed. The Mission contravenes the Policy of One China.
“What we are asking the ministry of foreign affairs to do is to fully implement, execute the One China policy.
“We are requesting a change of name from the Trade Mission of the Republic of China (Taiwan) to Taipei Trade Agency, Lagos. We are not sure that has been done or not.
“We are also requesting the relocation of the Mission to Lagos, because Abuja is the political capital of Nigeria,” the ambassador said.
In his response, the APC national chairman promised to take the message of the Chinese Ambassador to the appropriate quarters.
He commended the Chinese Ambassador for the cordial relationships that exist between China and Nigeria.
“We take the message very seriously and we will take it up. We must not let these issues stand in the way of very important and critical relationship between Nigeria and China,” said Odigie-Oyegun.
Present at the meeting were the APC National Secretary, Mai Mala Buni;Deputy National Chairman (North), Lawal Shuaibu; National Auditor, George Moghalu; National Treasurer, Bala Gwagwarwa; Deputy National Secretary, Oji Ngofa and Chief of Staff to the APC National Chairman, Edwin Ikhinmwin.