President Pierre Nkurunziza of Burundi said a recent report accusing China of spying on the African Union (AU) is groundless and has been fabricated by Western media to drive a wedge between Africa and China.
Nkurunziza told Chinese media in an interview that the spying reports released ahead of the 30th AU summit aims to divide Africa and China at a time when China remains an irreplaceable partner of the AU.
The French newspaper Le Monde said China had bugged the building it had built and gifted to the AU in 2012 and had been downloading data from servers in the building.
Nkurunziza said this is not the first time that Western media has tried to divide countries and stir up hatred.
He said China and Africa are friends working together, and their relationship is characterized by mutual respect and a win-win spirit.
On cooperation between China and African countries, Nkurunziza said the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is a very good opportunity to deepen the cooperation and relations between China and Africa.
He said he is very grateful for China’s invitation for Burundi to participate in this year’s FOCAC summit to be held in Beijing.
Burundi is very willing to take part in this important event, he said.
Nkurunziza said since the founding of FOCAC, China has been providing great support for Africa to help promote the region’s development through the forum, from which Burundi has benefited a lot.
He said the upcoming FOCAC summit is a good opportunity for Burundi and China to deepen the bilateral cooperation based on mutual trust and mutual benefits, and a great chance for other African countries to expand ties with China.
Nkurunziza said cooperation between Burundi and China is the most dynamic one among Burundi’s partnerships while hailing China as a reliable brother country.
According to statistics from the Chinese Embassy in Burundi, the trade volume between the two countries reached 46 million U.S. dollars in 2015.
China imports a large amount of coffee and tea from Burundi, and exports telecommunication products, textiles and computers to Burundi.
Nkurunziza said China has been more than a partner because China has stood by the Burundian people even during the most difficult times in the past.
At present China has also been actively supporting Burundi in the international arena, he added.
Nkurunziza also congratulated Chinese President Xi Jinping on his re-election as general secretary of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China.
He said it is Xi’s leadership that has empowered Sino-Burundian cooperation.
On the occasion of the upcoming Chinese Lunar New Year, Nkurunziza wished the Chinese people a happy Chinese New Year.
He also said he wished this year would be another dynamic one for Sino-Africa relations and also relations between Burundi and China.