China Launches Association for the Promotion of Friendship with the Seychelles

The Association for the Promotion of Friendship between China and the Seychelles was launched today at the Chinese cultural center in the small island nation’s capital of Victoria. The Association is headed by former Vice President Vincent Meriton, who claimed that “[the Association will] place emphasis on resource mobilization, enabling us to carry out meaningful projects and initiatives that will benefit our communities.”

What You Need to Know

According to Meriton, the Association will act as a platform from where discussions on furthering its objectives on promoting friendship and cooperation can be held, in the hopes of producing agreements with various organizations seeking to promote the association’s vision. Furthermore, the association aims to strengthen bilateral ties with the Asian nation in the blue economy, agriculture, tourism, conservation, and cultural exchanges.

The Seychelles is a large receiver of Chinese funding and infrastructure investment. To date, the Seychelles’ National Assembly Building, Palais de Justice, which is the home of the country’s judiciary, and the Broadcasting Corporation’s house, which is home to the nation’s national television and radio, have all been built through Chinese infrastructure funding.

Despite having a population of just under 120,000, the Seychelles is Africa’s richest nation, with a GDP per capita of about $43,151 due to its large tourism-based economy.

Also present at the Association’s launch was the Vice Chairperson of China’s National People’s Congress Standing Committee, Cai Dafeng. The Association’s launch coincided with Dafeng’s meeting with the National Assembly of the Seychelles.

Additionally, a January article published in the Seychelles Nation, the country’s biggest media outlet, provided an insight into the budding Chinese-Seychellois relationship. Titled, ‘Building a China-Seychelles Community with a Shared future,’ and penned by Chinese Ambassador to the Seychelles Lin Nan, the article delves into President Xi Jinping’s visions for the future of the international sphere and the role the Seychelles plays in that vision.

“Since diplomatic ties established, the relations between China and Seychelles have achieved fruitful results. We supported each other in safeguarding sovereignty, territorial integrity, and core interests. In the cause of bringing prosperity and happiness to our peoples, we are brothers, friends, and partners, be it in good times or in bad times.”

“Holding dear to the common values of peace, development, fairness, justice, democracy, and freedom, we worked together to foster the formation of a fairer and more equitable international system with the UN at its core. China appreciates the one-China policy adhered to by the Seychelles government and people and supports the formulation of the Multidimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI), with a view to addressing the special needs of small island developing countries.”

“Over the years, we have witnessed numerous China-Seychelles practical cooperation outcomes. The National Assembly Building and Palace de Justice are the symbols of bilateral friendship. Looking into the future, our cooperation is facing new opportunities. We will tap the cooperation potential in the blue economy, fisheries, agriculture. We will encourage more exports from Seychelles to the Chinese market and more tourists from China to Seychelles. We will hold more cultural events both in Seychelles and China, with a view to strengthening mutual understanding and advancing the progress of human civilizations. In terms of maritime security, China will continue to render support to Seychelles in combating piracy and drug and human trafficking,” the article said.

So, What Now?

China’s increased presence in the Seychelles forms part of its wider competition with India as well as its intention to secure its transportation lanes in the Indian Ocean as it ships oil from Africa and the Middle East. Despite China’s emphasis on cultural and economic initiatives, the Seychelles remain strategically important, particularly as China maintains a military support base in Djibouti. For example, in 2004, a memorandum of understanding signed between the two countries enabled Chinese military vessels to dock at the Seychelles’ Port Victoria.

Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger
Bianca Bridger is a Political Science Graduate from the University of Otago, New Zealand. Currently working as an Editor for The ModernInsurgent and writing for Atlas News, her interests include conflict politics, history, yoga and meditation.

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