Seychelles, China to explore new avenues in defence cooperation
The Seychelles’ President Danny Faure during his meeting with China's deputy chief of the joint staff department, General Wang Guanzhong, at State House on Monday. (Jude Morel, Seychelles News Agency)
(Seychelles News Agency) - Seychelles and China are going to explore new avenues of cooperation in the field of defence while consolidating what has been done in other areas, a statement from the State House said on Tuesday.
The Seychelles’ President Danny Faure met with a delegation from the Central Military Commission of China led by the deputy chief of the joint staff department, General Wang Guanzhong, the statement said.
In his discussion with the Chinese delegation, Faure who is also the Minister for Defence and Commander-in-Chief of the Seychelles People's Defence Forces, said he wants to consolidate what his predecessor has worked on, especially in the tourism sector, and at the same time explore other areas.
“I want to consolidate the socio-economic needs of our country -- the institutions, state-to-state and military-to-military cooperation, but I also want to build on commerce and trade so that the economies can sustain development,” said the Seychelles’ head of state.
Faure also expressed his wish to increase cooperation with the Chinese military to help shape the structure of the defence forces of Seychelles, an archipelago in the western Indian Ocean, so that it helps the community.
Defence cooperation between Seychelles and China has increased since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding in October 2004.
During the scourge of piracy in the Indian Ocean, Chinese naval vessels provided assistance to the region through patrols in the waters off the coast of Somalia.
As part of the Seychelles-China defence cooperation, a Chinese Navy's hospital ship -- ‘Peace Ark’ -- visited Seychelles in November 2010 and in 2011 China donated two Y-12 aircraft for surveillance of the Seychelles’ Exclusive Economic Zone against piracy, as well as other illegal and unreported activities.
A high-level military delegation led by the Chinese Minister for National Defense and State Councillor, General Liang Guanglie, also visited the Indian Ocean archipelago in December 2011, during which a millitary copperation agreement was signed.
Possible future cooperation with the Chinese military will include the exchange of personnel, training, equipment, and high-level exchange visits between the two countries.
General Wang also briefed the President on his meeting with the Seychelles Chief of Defence Forces, Brigadier Leopold Payet.
Faure thanked the Chinese government for their support to Seychelles especially in difficult times when faced with piracy and also paid tribute to what the Chinese military is doing for mainland Africa.