China moves beyond trade to deepen media relations with Nigeria

China has indicated readiness to improve media relations with Nigeria. This was made known by the Chinese Vice Minister of Information, Mr Guo Weimin, in a media dialogue hosted in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja. According to him, expanding media relations would help promote the relationship between both countries and objectively represent development in China and Africa.

The willingness to expand media relations is a welcome development as both countries have since enjoyed steady bilateral developments since February 10, 1971 when diplomatic relations where signed between the People’s Republic of China and the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Mr Guo also noted the evergreen relations between the both countries and how enhanced cooperations between the media of both countries would strengthen relations.

Nigeria and China has an existing joint economic and trade commission, signed as the Joint Communiqué on the Establishment of Diplomatic Relations. With the joint commission, the trade volume between the two countries in 2003 reached US$ 1.86 billion, representing a 59% growth. During the first four months of 2004, it grew further by 17.6% to US$ 609 million, with Nigeria’s export to China registering a growth of 330%.

The media relations would continue the strategic Nigeria-China relations, add to the number of agreements; on trade, economic and technical cooperation, scientific and technological cooperation, agreement on investment protection, signed by the two countries.

On the usefulness of media relations between the countries, Mr Ling Jing, the Chinese Deputy Ambassador to Nigeria, said “in line with the spirit of equal treatment, seeking common ground while reserving differences, openness and inclusiveness, let us bring into play the power of media and lay a solid public opinion foundation for a healthy and stable development of bilateral relations between the two countries. When media cooperation works, society thrives”.

He also encouraged as many Nigerian Media to visit, study and broadcast in China and same applies for the Chinese media. In total, there is around twenty thousand Chinese people, including more than 300 from Taiwan, living in Nigeria, residing mainly in Lagos, Kano and Abuja.

Also speaking on the media dialogue, Mrs Funke Egbemode, President of the Nigerian Guild of Editors said, the media served as watchdogs in ensuring accountability among nations’ leaders and it is pertinent for the media to work together to enhance national and regional development as there is need to work hard and together because according to her, more can be achieved by working together.

Speaking on the role of the media and the media relations between both countries, the Vice Minister noted the need for both countries to do interpersonal communication using the media as a positive voice for developing nations globally. He said “we will promote innovative and pragmatic cooperation and carry forward common development of China-Nigeria media industry.