Consolidating China-Africa Traditional Friendship and Deepening China-Africa All-round Cooperation
President Hu Jintao of the People's Republic ofChina
At Joint Session of the Gabonese Parliament
2 February 2004
Your Excellency President El Hadj Omar Bongo,
Your Excellencies Senate President Georges Rawiri and
Speaker of the National Assembly Guy Nzouba-Ndama,
Members of Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure for me to have this opportunity to visitGabonand meet, here at this Palace of the National Assembly, a symbol of China-Gabon friendship, with parliamentarians and diplomatic envoys accredited toGabon.First of all, on behalf of the Government and people ofChina, I would like to extend my sincere greetings and best wishes to you and, through you, to the Gabonese people and the people of wholeAfrica.
This year marks the 30thanniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations betweenChinaandGabon.In the past three decades, our two countries have conducted fruitful cooperation in wide-ranging areas and become each other's genuine and dependable partner.President Bongo is an old friend of the Chinese people who has made important contributions to the development of China-Gabon relations.I am confident that my current visit will further deepen and advance the friendship and cooperation between our two peoples.
Forty years ago today, Zhou Enlai, the beloved late premier of the Chinese people, was in the middle of his very first visit toAfrica.He described his ten-country African journey as one of "seeking friendship, peace and knowledge".It was in the same spirit that successive Chinese leaders made their African trips later on.Through their visits, the Chinese people have come to know more aboutAfricaand increased their friendship with the African people.To see the African people work assiduously in nation-building and the African continent hold out bright prospects for development has the Chinese people greatly inspired.
Since the founding of New China, the Chinese Government has always attached great importance to developing relations withAfricaand adopted a series of related policies and guidelines.Consistently adhering to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, we respect the independent choices made by African countries for their political systems and development paths.We have provided them with assistance to the best of our ability and developed economic and technical cooperation with them.We support their efforts for a strong and unitedAfricathrough collective self-reliance.We call for greater attention by the international community to peace and development on this continent and support African countries in their participation in international affairs on an equal footing.We have worked to strengthen consultations and cooperation withAfricaand made joint efforts to safeguard the rights and interests of the developing countries.
China-Africa friendship dates back long in history and is deeply rooted in the hearts of our peoples.Since the founding of New China, we have always unswervingly supported the cause of national liberation inAfricaand lent a sincere helping hand to African countries' endeavour at national economic development.Chinese experts, doctors, teachers and workers sent toAfricahave worked shoulder to shoulder with the local people and forged a deep friendship of affinity.In international affairs,Chinaand African countries have understood and supported each other and become trustworthy partners.The Chinese people will never forget that it was due to the strong support of the vast number of developing countries, those inAfricaincluded, thatChinasuccessfully regained its lawful seat in the United Nations at the 26thsession of the United Nations General Assembly in 1971.In recent years, the political trust betweenChinaandAfricahas deepened, trade and economic cooperation become more fruitful, and the friendly exchanges at all levels and in all fields such as culture, education, public health, science, technology and sports developed vigorously.The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation launched at the beginning of the century has become the new platform for closer China-Africa relations and stronger cooperation.ChinaandAfricahave set out to establish a new type of partnership featuring long-term stability, equality and mutual benefit and China-Africa friendship and cooperation have entered a new stage of all-round development.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is my third visit toAfrica.Africahas abundant natural resources and a huge potential for development.Even though suffering hundreds of years of colonial domination and plunder and still facing considerable difficulties and challenges, the African people are industrious, brave, fearless and enterprising.These characters have left a deep impression on me.
Times are progressing, andAfricais advancing.We are pleased to see that, through generations of arduous struggles, decolonisation was completed and racial segregation as an institution abolished throughout the African continent.This is a tremendous contribution to human progress.Decades of relentless efforts have brought about progress in the cause of peace and development inAfrica.In recent years,Africahas worked hard to resolve regional conflicts, resulting in greater stability in its overall situation.Seeking self-strengthening through unity, African countries have formed the African Union and laid down the New Partnership for African Development.African countries have actively explored a development path suited to their national conditions, taking economic growth, poverty eradication and improvement of people's livelihood as their top priority.The economy ofAfricaas a whole has grown for nine years in a row.With assistance from the international community,Africahas vigorously invested in education and personnel training and spared no efforts to address such social problems as HIV/AIDS.African countries have worked hand in hand with the other developing countries, promoting South-South cooperation and playing their increasing role in international affairs.The Chinese Government and people rejoice at seeing each and every achievement scored byAfrica.We are convinced that through the persistent efforts of all the African governments and people and with the support of the international community,Africa's revitalization will surely be realized.
The Chinese people are, too, faced with a historic task of national rejuvenation.In the past five decades and more since the founding of the People's Republic, and especially since the implementation of reform and opening-up over 20 years ago,China's modernization drive has made remarkable achievements.The social productive forces and the comprehensive national strength ofChinahave made a historic leap forward and the Chinese people are, on the whole, living a comfortable life.However, we are keenly aware that, given our huge population, weak economic base and uneven development, our per capita GDP ranks fairly low on the country list of the world and we need to work long and hard, even by generations, to turnChinainto a modern country.The Communist Party of China set forth at its 16thNational Congress more than a year ago the goal of building a well-off society in an all-round way.Today, our 1.3 billion countrymen are working vigorously, and with full confidence, towards this grand goal.
Currently, the international situation is undergoing the most complex and most profound changes since the end of Cold War.Peace and development remain the two main themes for the people across the world.Peace is the prerequisite to development whereas development the guarantee for peace.It has become the shared aspiration of the international community to pursue development in a peaceful environment.However, the world is still not tranquil, with uncertainties affecting peace and development on the increase.There are new manifestations of hegemonism and power politics.Conflicts caused by ethnic and religious clashes or by boundary and territorial disputes are cropping up from time to time.The uneven development is even more evident as the gap between North and South has widened further.Such non-traditional security threats as raging terrorism, rampant transnational crimes, spread of deadly diseases and worsened pollution of the environment, are posing greater danger to human development.Our mankind is facing new challenges and opportunities in our quest to maintain world peace and promote common development.
With this as a backdrop,ChinaandAfricahave come to share more concerns and accordingly, more interests and objectives in facilitating the establishment of a new international economic and political order that is fair and equitable.Chinais the world's largest developing country andAfricathe continent with the highest concentration of developing countries.We inChinaare ready to work with African countries in an effort to seize the historical opportunities, deepen cooperation at all fronts and promote common development.Here, I would like to propose the following three-point initiative:
First, build on the traditional friendship and push for new progress in China-Africa relations.The traditional China-Africa friendship was fostered by the older generation of leaders on both sides, the essence of which is sincere friendship, equality, mutual support and close cooperation.Indeed, strengthening solidarity and cooperation with all developing countries, African countries included, has been a basic starting point of China's foreign policy.The Chinese Government will unswervingly carry forward the traditional China-Africa friendship and, proceeding from the fundamental interests of our peoples, step up an all-directional cooperation with African countries, breaking new ground and adding new contents to the cooperation.It is important forChinaandAfricato increase governmental and nongovernmental interactions at various levels in addition to keeping the current frequency of high-level exchanges.Equally important is for the two sides to enhance trade and economic cooperation, and expand cooperation in science, technology, culture, education, health, tourism, management and other areas.Together with our African brothers, we are ready to do whatever is helpful to peace and development inAfrica, to the friendship and cooperation betweenChinaandAfrica, and to the maintenance of interests of the developing countries as a whole.
Second, persist in mutual assistance and mutual benefit and promote the common prosperity ofChinaandAfrica.Providing assistance to African countries to the best of our capacity and with no political strings attached is an important part ofChina'sAfricapolicy.AsChinagrows stronger economically, we will increase assistance to our friends.As a matter of fact,ChinaandAfricaare fairly complementary economically.Africais rich in natural and human resources andChinahas applicable know-how and experience.Both have a broad consumer market and the potential for our cooperation is enormous.We would like to seeChinaandAfricabecome closer partners in trade and economic cooperation.We will earnestly implement the follow-up actions of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum, support the development of the African Union and the implementation of NEPAD, seriously fulfil our promise on zero tariffs to some African commodities and increase our import fromAfrica, and explore new ways to expand trade with African countries.We will take an active part in cooperation programs that benefit the ordinary people in the spirit of diversity in forms, equality, mutual benefit and giving the need of the people top priority. We will create a more favourable environment for investment and cooperation by enterprises from both sides and provide better policy and financial support to Chinese enterprises operating inAfrica.Our economic cooperation in the future could focus more on infrastructure, agriculture and resources development, and we shall step up our mutually beneficial cooperation to promote common development, thus making both sides winners.
Third, cooperate even more closely in an effort to safeguard the rights and interests of the developing countries.We believe that the international decision-making mechanism should be democratic, transparent, fair and equitable; all countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, are equal and are entitled to participate and play a role in international affairs.We also believe that economic globalisation should benefit all the people in the world and move in a direction conducive to common prosperity.As a permanent member of the UN Security Council,Chinawill continue to support the reasonable propositions and requests of the vast number of developing countries, African countries included, work to promote the solidarity and cooperation of the developing countries and enhance their capacity to meet the challenges collectively.Chinasupports African countries in their efforts to resolve regional conflicts and develop the economy by self-strengthening through unity, and participates in UN peacekeeping operations inAfricaand programs aimed at promoting African economic and social development.Chinais ready to step up consultation and coordination withAfricain such areas as safeguarding the authority of the United Nations, pushing the Security Council reform and increasing the developing countries' representation in the Council.While facilitating the South-South cooperation,Chinawill vigorously promote the North-South dialogue in the interest of better North-South relations.In particular, we call for greater commitment and actions on the part of the developed countries in technology transfer, wider market access, lower trade barriers, more financial aid and investment, and greater debt reduction in favour of the developing countries so as to help the South with economic development and poverty eradication.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Looking back, the tree of China-Africa friendship has borne rich fruits thanks to the concerted efforts of the leaders and peoples of both sides.Looking ahead, we see even brighter prospects for China-Africa cooperation.Let us join hands and renew our abiding commitment to stronger cooperation in an all-round way on the basis of our traditional friendship.