Enhance Friendship, Solidarity and Cooperation for a Better Future
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Talks About
From 27 to 29 January, Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) attended the Opening Ceremony of the 18th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) and paid an official goodwill visit to Ethiopia. Upon conclusion of the visit, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi briefed the accompanying journalists about the outcome of the visit.
Yang said that Chairman Jia's visit took place at a time when international and regional situations are undergoing profound and complex changes and relations between China and Africa have entered a new phase of important development. This visit was a major event in China-Africa relations and had great significance in the history of China-AU relations. The AU and the Ethiopian side placed high importance on the visit and accorded the delegation high-level reception and warm hospitality. The visit has also attracted wide attention from both home and abroad. During the visit, Chairman Jia attended a number of bilateral and multilateral events where he elaborated on China's policy and proposition towards Africa and put forward a host of new initiatives and measures on the further development of China-Africa relations. This visit was of great and far-reaching significance to deepening the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa and strengthening solidarity and cooperation among developing countries in the new circumstances.
I. The visit has deepened the traditional friendship and political mutual trust between China and Africa.
Yang said that the deep traditional friendship between China and Africa has grown from strength to strength and won the support of the people of both sides. A common pursuit for peace, stability and development in the new era has brought the Chinese and African people closer.
Chairman Jia repeatedly stressed that mutual understanding, mutual respect, mutual support and mutual benefit are the source of China-Africa friendship and the cornerstone of China-Africa relations. African countries have all along given firm support to China on issues concerning China's major and core interests and offered strong support to China's economic development. The Chinese people will always remember the selfless help from the African people. Chairman Jia reaffirmed that China cherishes its traditional friendship with Africa and will firmly stand with the African countries and support them in their efforts to independently choose their development paths, resolve regional issues on their own and seek strength through unity. While pursuing its own development, China has always endeavored to seek common development with Africa and promoted African development through its own development.
Chairman Jia attended the inauguration ceremony of the AU Conference Center and Office Complex, a project built with China's assistance. This project was one of the eight measures announced by President Hu Jintao on behalf of the Chinese government at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2006 to expand cooperation with Africa. This high-quality building complex delivered on schedule serves as a testament to China's commitment to and a new historic monument for China-Africa friendship and cooperation.
The African Union stands as a banner for African pursuit of strength through unity and an important force in upholding peace, stability and development of Africa and the world. President Hu Jintao sent a congratulatory message to the 18th AU Summit and Chairman Jia Qinglin attended its opening ceremony. It was the first time for a Chinese leader to attend the AU Summit. Chairman Jia voiced firm support for the African Union during his speech. He said that the profound and complex changes taking place in Africa and the world have affected, in no small magnitude, the cause of peace, stability and development in Africa and posed growing challenges to Africa in its efforts to enhance strength through unity and solve its own issues independently. Meeting the Millennium Development Goals remains a daunting task for Africa. It is all the more important for African countries, at this crucial moment, to strengthen unity and stick to its own path. Africa and the African Union have a future.
Leaders of African countries applauded the traditional friendship between Africa and China. They said that such friendship is deeply rooted in the same historical experience. China respects and supports Africa. This is what China says and what China does. They appreciated China's valuable support and assistance over the years and thanked China in particular for helping build the AU Conference Center and Office Complex, which they believe, serves as a symbol of African renaissance and renews the hope of the African people for a better future. Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi said that China's firm commitment to implementing cooperation projects with African countries is an important contributor to African renaissance. One could feel the warmth and vitality of the China-Africa friendship throughout the brand new AU Conference Center and Office Complex. Rounds of big applause resonating in the large conference hall spoke to the heart of the African countries: in the journey of African development, China is always Africa's trustworthy brother, friend and partner.
II. The visit made planning for the future of China-Africa relations.
Minister Yang underlined the importance to advance with the times and make pioneering efforts for the long-term development of China-Africa relations in the face of opportunities and challenges brought about by the changing situation.
Chairman Jia pointed out that the rise of developing countries as a whole represents an irresistible trend of history. China is the largest developing country and Africa hosts the largest group of developing countries. China-Africa cooperation is an important component of the solidarity and cooperation among developing countries and is of great significance for world peace, stability and development. China values its relations with Africa from a strategic and long-term perspective and is ready to work even harder with African countries to bring their new type of strategic partnership to a new high.
Chairman Jia put forth a series of proposals for advancing China-Africa relations under the new circumstances. Politically, the two sides should maintain exchanges at the top and all other levels, step up strategic dialogue and communication, share experience on governance and enhance mutual understanding and trust, and strengthen strategic planning and institutional building of FOCAC so that FOCAC will continue to be a major engine for the growth of China-Africa relations. Economically, the two sides should endeavor to raise the level of economic cooperation between China and Africa on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win outcome. China will continue to provide assistance to Africa with no political strings attached. Culturally, the two sides should value the role of people-to-people exchanges, enhance exchanges and cooperation between academics, news media and institutions of higher learning from both sides, and encourage more youth interactions. On the international front, the two sides should continue to render each other support on issues concerning their respective major and core interests, step up coordination and cooperation on global governance and climate change. China will firmly support African countries in their efforts to uphold sovereignty and independence and resolve African issues on their own. China will firmly support the just position of African countries, and continue to actively and responsibly participate in peace and security affairs in Africa, including supporting AU in enhancing its peace-keeping capability.
African leaders stated that in response to the complex and changing international situation, African countries should seek strength through unity and enhance solidarity and cooperation with China to achieve common development. Jia called on the international community to respect the efforts of African countries to independently resolve African issues, support African countries in seeking strength through unity and the integration process, pay more attention to African development and scale up input and make concrete efforts to uphold and advance peace, stability and development of Africa. This fully demonstrates that China is a major responsible country. African countries all support and welcome Jia's propositions and initiatives on developing China-Africa and China-Ethiopia relations. They expressed their willingness to work together with China to deepen exchanges and cooperation in various fields and write a new chapter in Africa-China relations.
III. The visit has advanced economic cooperation and trade between China and Africa.
Yang stated that recent years have seen rapid growth of China-Africa economic cooperation and trade which benefit both sides. During his visit, Chairman Jia expounded on many occasions China's policy on trade and economic cooperation with Africa, emphasized that such cooperation is based on mutual benefit and aims for common development. He pointed out that China and Africa have shared development goals, sound cooperation basis, strong complementarities, broad market space and great potential for trade and economic cooperation. China is ready to make joint efforts with African countries to explore new areas and forms of cooperation, strengthen cooperation with African countries in not only energy and resources but also agriculture, infrastructure, financial service and other areas. China will encourage more competitive and reputable Chinese companies to make investment in Africa and support Africa in achieving connectivity. China is ready to establish cooperative partnership with the AU in improving Africa's infrastructure. Chairman Jia emphasized in particular that in order to help African countries improve their capacity for independent development, China is ready to provide Africa with more human resources training, and impart and transfer to them more production technologies and management expertise suited to local conditions. China takes the issues in its business cooperation with Africa seriously. It has taken and will continue to take effective measures together with African countries to resolve them.
When meeting representatives of Chinese companies, Chairman Jia encouraged them to be law-abiding, honest and rule-complying, integrate with the local community, benefit the local people and contribute more to African countries' economic and social development. Chairman Jia spoke sincerely and made clear requirements on behalf of the Chinese government to Chinese companies on investing in Africa.
Leaders of African countries stated that trade and economic cooperation between Africa and China play an important role in promoting local economic and social development and improving the livelihood of the local people. As African countries are actively engaged in national development, they hope to draw upon China's advanced technology and experience and grow the economy with Chinese investment, and will take effective measures to protect the lawful rights and interests of Chinese investors.
Ethiopia applauded the efficiency and compliance of recently completed investment projects of Chinese companies in Ethiopia including the Eastern Industry Zone, Hua Jian Shoe Factory and Chang Cheng Packaging Co.,Ltd. These projects are well-received by the Ethiopian people as they have brought many jobs and economic benefits to the local communities and raised the working skills of the local people. Ethiopia appreciates the good will of China that "it is better to let people know how to fish than to give them fish". Prime Minister Meles stated that Ethiopia hopes to send more technical workers to receive training in Chinese companies.
Yang concluded that Chairman Jia started a new journey of friendship, solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa at the beginning of China's lunar New Year. The highly successful visit has built upon past achievements and will lead China-Africa relations to new progress. This year is very important for China-Africa relations. Exchanges between the two sides will further increase. In particular, China will host the fifth ministerial conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. We will seize this important opportunity to advance practical cooperation with Africa in various fields in an all-round way and open up an even better future of China-Africa relations.