CPPCC National Committee Chairman Jia Qinglin Accepts a Written Interview with the Ethiopian News Agency
On the eve of attending the opening ceremony of the 18th Summit of the African Union (AU) and paying a visit to Ethiopia, CPPCC National Committee Chairman Jia Qinglin accepted a written interview with the Ethiopian News Agency and answered questions concerning China-Africa relations, China-AU relations and China-Ethiopia relations.
In answering questions concerning China-Africa relations and how China helps Africa obtain deserved status on the international stage, Jia said that the relations between China and Africa continued to make new progress on the basis of traditional friendship and showed strong vitalities and huge potentials. The mutual political trust continued to grow. The pragmatic cooperation in economy, trade and other areas jumped to a new level. The people-to-people and cultural exchanges witnessed further development. China and Africa maintained close coordination on major international and regional issues. Under the guidance of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa is marching forward on a higher level and in a wider area.
Jia said that China was pleased to see the increasingly important role played by Africa in international and regional affairs in recent years. Jia believed that such progress could be attributed to two points. First, the momentum of increased joint self-reliance of African countries continued to grow. Second, the momentum of enhanced unity and cooperation between Africa and other developing countries continued to grow. Practice has proved that China-Africa cooperation is conducive to the respective economic and social development, to the enhancement of the international status of the two sides, as well as to world peace and development.
Jia pointed out that the purpose of his invited attendance of the AU Summit and his visit to Ethiopia is to show to Africa and the international community that China will unswervingly strengthen unity and cooperation with African countries, firmly support the joint self-reliance of African countries and the integration process in Africa, and unwaveringly support Africa to play a greater role in international and regional affairs. China is committed to deepening the cooperation with Africa on the basis of equality, mutual trust, and mutual benefit and working with the international community to promote peace and development in Africa.
In response to questions concerning China's guidelines for the promotion of economic development in Africa and the Chinese government's expansion of investment scale in Africa, Jia said that China always pursues a win-win strategy of opening up, adheres to integrating China's own development into the common development of developing countries. While achieving China's own development, China continues to strengthen economic and trade cooperation with Africa and strive to promote the development of Africa through China's self-development. While carrying out cooperation with Africa, China adheres to the principles of mutual benefit and common development. While providing assistance for Africa, China emphasizes on practical results and never interferes in internal affairs of recipient countries. These principles were appreciated and welcomed by the vast number of African countries.
Jia stressed that investment cooperation is an important part of economic and trade cooperation between China and Africa. The Chinese government always encourages and supports strong and creditable Chinese enterprises to expand investment in Africa. China has taken measures to guide such investment, such as providing African countries with concessional loans, establishing China-Africa Development Fund and setting up overseas economic and trade cooperation zones in African countries. These measures generated good driving effects. In recent years, China's investment in Africa grew rapidly, with the investment stock increasing from USD4.9 billion at the end of 2003 to USD14.7 billion in 2011, with investment areas covering mining, finance, manufacturing, construction, tourism, forestry, animal husbandry, fishery and many other areas, and with the number of investing enterprises exceeding 2,000.
Jia pointed out that China would like to continue to discuss with Africa on how to expand areas, ways and means of investment cooperation and how to continuously improve the level of investment cooperation with Africa.
In response to questions concerning how to assess the status and role of the African Union, Jia said that AU is the most representative and the most important inter-governmental organization in Africa. Since it was founded ten years ago, AU has made important contributions to promoting Africa's peace, stability and development and has become the banner of joint self-reliance of Africa. China attaches great importance to the relations with AU. With the joint efforts of the two sides in recent years, China's relations with AU experienced all-round and rapid development. The exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa in various fields continued to grow. The AU Conference Center is one of the important outcomes of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. In less than three years' time, the construction was completed on schedule late last year. The AU Conference Center, standing on the "Roof of Africa", reflects China's strong support to the joint self-reliance and the integration process in Africa. It will become a new monument for China-Africa friendship and the friendly cooperation between China and Africa.
With regard to China's role in promoting the intra-regional trade in Africa, Jia said that the current world economic situation is still complicated and grim. Strengthening regional economic integration will help to increase Africa's capabilities against external economic risks. It is very relevant for AU to select "boost intra-regional trade on the continent" as the theme of the summit. China sincerely hopes the summit could make positive progress in this regard. China noticed that the African Union and African countries hope that China could actively participate in the integration of Africa and help Africa strengthen cross-border intra-regional infrastructure. China holds a positive attitude and is willing to strengthen exchanges and dialogues with AU and African subregional organizations. China is willing to seize every opportunity to advance cooperation in this field in a pragmatic, pioneering and innovative spirit and make positive contributions to the interconnection of Africa.
On the question of implementing the eight new initiatives of pragmatic cooperation, Jia said since the establishment of the FOCAC in October 2000, China has been earnestly implementing cooperation initiatives identified at the ministerial conferences and the Beijing Summit. Tangible results have been achieved, as anyone could see. These initiatives were warmly welcomed and positively appraised by African countries and the international community.
Jia pointed out that since the 4th Ministerial Conference of FOCAC two years ago, China and Africa, while facing serious challenges presented by the international financial crisis, worked together to implement the outcome of the conference unabatedly. Important progress was achieved. Debt exemption, tariff exemption, concessional loans, special loans for SME development in Africa and other initiatives have been moving forward smoothly. The aided agriculture demonstration center, clean energy project, China-Africa friendship school and other projects are progressing in an orderly manner. The human resources training work has been carried out in full swing. The forum on agricultural cooperation, forum on legal affairs, youth leaders forum, civil forum, science and technology cooperation forum, think tank forum, African culture in focus, China-Africa college cooperation program, China-Africa joint research and exchange program and other important events and programs have been launched successively, bringing China-Africa cooperation to a new height.
Jia stressed that 2012 marks the end for the implementation of the outcome of the fourth Ministerial Conference. China will continue to work with African countries to fully implement the follow-up actions. FOCAC will hold the Fifth Ministerial Conference in 2012. China will strengthen consultation and coordination with African countries, make good preparations for the ministerial conference to ensure its success, and promote the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership toward greater development.
On the relationship between China and Ethiopia, Jia said that China and Ethiopia are friendly countries in tradition. In recent years, China-Ethiopia comprehensive cooperative partnership moved deeper. The two countries maintained close political exchanges and dialogues and supported each other on issues of major interest. Last August, Prime Minister Meles Zenawi paid a successful visit to China, injecting new impetus to the development of bilateral relations. The two countries also achieved productive results in economic and trade cooperation. China actively participated in the cause of national building of Ethiopia and has become Ethiopia's largest trade partner and main source of foreign investment. The cooperation in science & technology, culture, education and other areas was fruitful and continued to expand.
Jia said that Ethiopia is an influential country in Africa. China is willing to continue to make joint efforts with Ethiopia to further enrich the connotations of bilateral cooperation and bring bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership to a new level. The Chinese government will continue to increase support to Ethiopia and deepen bilateral cooperation in politics, economy, agriculture, technology, culture, education, health and other fields. China will also encourage strong and reputable Chinese enterprises to invest in Ethiopia. The Chinese side will continue to expand mutual understanding and friendship between the people through various channels.
Jia pointed out that Ethiopia is an active promoter of FOCAC. As the first Africa country hosting the FOCAC Ministerial Conference, Ethiopia has been actively involved in the affairs of FOCAC and made outstanding contributions to promoting the development of China-Africa friendly relations and cooperation, which the Chinese side highly appreciates. The current China-Africa relations are at an important stage of development. China is willing to work with African countries, including Ethiopia, to better promote China-Africa relations for the benefit of the African and Chinese people.