Vice-Premier Liu Yandong lays a brick at the foundation-laying ceremony for the Confucius Institute at Cairo University in Egypt on March 6, 2016. [Photo/Xinhua]
Outstanding Egyptian youths wishing to study in China will soon be able to take advantage of 500 freshman scholarships provided by the government, Vice-Premier Liu Yandong said on Saturday.
Liu made the announcement while addressing a forum of Chinese and Egyptian university chiefs in Cairo.
There are more than 800 Egyptian students studying in China, and more than 2,300 Chinese students studying in Egypt, Liu said, adding that the two countries should make bilateral people-to-people exchanges a "locomotive" driving China-Arab and China-African relations.
Among other proposals, Liu called for universities to strengthen cooperation in the field of scientific research, to play the role of think tanks to develop the two countries' relationship, and to create more opportunities for young teachers and students to get to know their counterparts abroad.
She also attended other activities since her arrival in Egypt on Friday, including the cornerstone-laying ceremony of a building at Cairo University's Confucius Institute.
Egypt is the first stop of Liu's visit to the Middle East this month, to be followed by Israel and Palestine.
In January, during President Xi Jinping's visit, the launch of a year of bilateral cultural exchanges between Egypt and China was announced to mark the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries.
Yang Guang, a researcher at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Liu's visit helps consolidate bilateral cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
China "attaches great importance" to Egypt, a country that has "a wide influence" in the Middle East, the Arab world and Africa, he said.
Li Guofu, an expert on the Middle East studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said one purpose of Liu's visit was to implement a five-year plan to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries.
Liu met Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi on Sunday morning, followed by Secretary-General Nabil El Araby of the League of Arab States and Egyptian Prime Minister Sherif Ismail in the afternoon.
Vice-Premier Liu Yandong lays a brick at the foundation-laying ceremony for the Confucius Institute at Cairo University in Egypt on Saturday. - chinadaily
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