Speech of Vice Premier Wu Yi at the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
Today we are holding the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. On behalf of the Chinese government, I'd like to extend warm congratulations on the conference, sincere welcome to the ministers and friends who have traveled afar to Beijing and heart-felt gratitude to all of you for your active contributions to promoting China-Africa friendly cooperation.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the People's Republic of China and African countries. Over the past 5 decades, with the joint efforts of both sides the traditional friendship and comprehensive cooperation between China and Africa enjoy a sound momentum of dynamic growth, the bilateral high-level political exchanges remain frequent, pragmatic cooperation keep expanding, the friendship between the Chinese and African people continues deepening and both sides extend mutual support in international affairs. The China-Africa friendship has withstood the tests of time and the fluctuating international situation and been more deeply rooted among the people. China-Africa cooperation can be said as the showcase of south-south cooperation and benefits the people of the two sides. We are deeply glad and proud of having such a solid and sincere China-Africa friendship!
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation established in 2000 is a major strategic measure of both sides to cope with the challenges in the new century, carry on the traditional friendship and reinforce the mutually beneficial cooperation. Over the past 6 years, two ministerial conferences of the Forum have been held successfully and a series of important follow-up actions been implemented effectively. Having achieved fruitful results, the Forum has become an important platform of conducting collective dialogue and an efficient mechanism of making pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa. The mechanism of the Forum, which is getting increasingly mature, exerting greater influence and playing a bigger role, has injected new dynamism into China-Africa cooperation. The development experience of the Forum is of great reference value to south-south cooperation.
Over the past 6 years since the establishment of the Forum, China-Africa cooperation in various fields has scored long-term progress. 56 person times of Chinese leaders and foreign minister have visited 41 African countries, and African leaders above the level of foreign minister of 46 countries have paid 155 visits to China. The trade volume between China and Africa exceeded US$10 billion 6 years ago for the first time and doubled to US$39.8 billion in 2005. The mutual investment between China and Africa has made great progress. China and Africa enhanced consultations and coordination in international affairs and reached new consensus on some major international and regional issues. The non-governmental exchanges between China and Africa in such fields as business, culture, tourism and overseas study move forward dynamically. In particular, the "China-African Youth Festival" and the Chinese young volunteers working in Africa have sowed the seed of China-Africa friendship among the young generation.
Both China and Africa are deeply encouraged by the achievements of the Forum. To make the Forum play a bigger role in promoting China-Africa friendship is our common aspiration. Both sides should keep improving the mechanism of the Forum and push forward cooperation within the framework of the Forum in the principles of consultations on an equal footing, mutual benefit and reciprocity, step-by-step advance, flexibility and pragmatism. I propose China and Africa make joint efforts in the following areas:
First, carrying on the past, forging ahead into the future and maintaining the dynamism of the Forum. Both sides should constantly review the construction of the Forum and the successful experience and practice of conducting friendly cooperation within the framework of the Forum over the past 6 years, carefully plan future cooperation, actively implement the follow-up actions and make the Forum a banner of guiding the all-round friendship between China and Africa.
Second, exploring actively and innovating the cooperation model. As situation changes, both sides should deeply tap the cooperation potential, complement with each other's advantages and push forward the bilateral cooperation in wider areas and to higher levels. Meanwhile, we should make innovation continuously and strengthen exchange of experience in the principle of openness and tolerance in a bid to make the Forum an important component of international development cooperation.
Third, enhancing coordination and promoting the healthy development of cooperation. Both sides should give full play to the role of the Forum as the mechanism of conducting collective dialogue, keep close consultations, build new consensus, carefully study the new demands of cooperation, try to expand the convergence of interest, properly address the new problems emerging in the process of cooperation and make the Forum an effective platform of protecting our common interest.
Tomorrow the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation will open. The Beijing Summit is a new landmark in the history of China-Africa relations and marks another peak of the all-round friendship between China and Africa. Today, we hold the 3rd ministerial conference to make final preparations for the Summit, which is of great significance. With the hard work and careful preparations of the 5th Senior Officials Meeting of the Forum during the past two days, China and Africa make extensive consensus on the preparations of the Summit, laying down a sound foundation for the success of this ministerial conference.
The focus of the 3rd ministerial conference will review and submit to the Summit the draft Declaration of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the draft Beijing Action Plan (2007-2009) – the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. As the major results of the Summit, these two documents are attributable to the consensus and hard work of both sides and the important guiding principles of developing China-Africa relations and planning the bilateral cooperation in the future. I believe that the ministerial conference will complete the review of the outcome documents of the Summit in a pragmatic and efficient way.
China and the African countries are looking forward to the Beijing Summit, which is also drawing wide attention from the international community. I am confident that this ministerial conference will complete its agenda with high quality and contribute to the success of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.