Premier Zhou Enlai's Three Tours of Asian and African countries
After the Bandung Conference, relations between China and other Asian and African countries grew ever stronger, and the exchange of visits between their leaders became more and more frequent. In order to further consolidate and develop the friendship between China and these countries, Premier Zhou Enlai made three official and friendly tours of Asian and African countries.
From the end of 1956 to early 1957, Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice-Premier He Long made a tour of eight countries: Vietnam, Cambodia, India, Burma, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal and Ceylon. Premier Zhou called that a tour to seek friendship, peace and knowledge. Since the tour took place soon after the "Suez Canal War" and the Polish and Hungarian Incidents, Premier Zhou explicitly stated China's position on those major international issues in his talks with the leaders of the above-mentioned countries. He emphasized that the colonial people's desire for independence must be realized, that the policy of peace and neutrality of the nationalist countries must be respected and that there must be no interference in the internal affairs of any country. He pointed out in particular that as relations among the socialist countries were of a new type still lacking in experience, they could not be termed perfect and completely normal, and it was vitally important that those countries should all the more observe the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence in their mutual relations.
In the spring of 1960, Premier Zhou Enlai and Vice-Premier Chen Yi toured six Asian countries: Burma, India, Nepal, Cambodia, Vietnam and Mongolia. As the visit came right after the first armed conflict on the Sino-Indian border, foreign forces unfriendly to China attempted to exploit the situation to sow discord between China and its neighboring countries. Premier Zhou used the tour to fully express China's sincere desire for amicable and good-neighborly relations with its neighbors. During Premier Zhou's visit to Nepal, the two sides signed the Sino-Nepalese Treaty of Peace and Friendship and Exchanged instruments of ratification of the Agreement on the Question of Boundary between the two countries. During Premier Zhou's tour in Mongolia, the two sides signed a treaty of friendship and mutual assistance between China and Mongolia, an agreement on economic assistance and another on scientific and technological cooperation.
From 13 December 1963 to 5 February 1964, Premier Zhou and Vice-Premier Chen Yi toured ten African countries: the United Arab Republic (currently Egypt), Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia, Ghana, Mali, Guinea, Sudan, Ethiopia and Somalia. Immediately thereafter, from 14 to 26 February 1964, they visited Burma and Pakistan and , together with Vice Chairman Song Chingling, they visited Ceylon from 26 to 29 February. This tour of 13 Asian and African countries was a major milestone in the development of friendly relations between China and other Asian and African countries. During the tour, Premier Zhou exchanged views with the leaders of the countries concerned and reached extensive agreement with them on such questions as opposing imperialism, colonialism, racism, expansionism, safeguarding world peace, strengthening unity among Asian and African countries and promoting the friendly relations between China and other Asian and African countries. Premier Zhou stressed that international issues should not be decided by a few big powers alone, the newly-emerged Asian and African countries which have stood up are playing an increasingly important role in world affairs; therefore, it runs totally against the historical trend to ignore the independent will of the newly-emerged Asian and African countries and attempt to write off the status of those countries; all countries in the world, big or small, strong or weak, are equal; anyone who adopts the practice of the big domineering the small and the strong bullying the weak is doomed to failure. What should be pointed out in particular was that while in the United Arab Republic Premier Zhou put forward the five principles guiding China's relations with the Arab countries, and in Algeria the five principles guiding China's relations with the African countries. In brief, the five principles guiding China's relations with the Arab and African countries were as follows: a. China supports the Arab and African peoples in their struggle to oppose imperialism and old and new colonialism and to win and safeguard national independence. b. It supports the pursuance of a policy of peace, neutrality and non-alignment by the Governments of Arab and African countries. c. It supports the desire of the Arab and African peoples to achieve unity and solidarity in the manner of their own choice. d. It supports the Arab and African countries in their efforts to settle their disputes through peaceful consultations. e. It holds that the sovereignty of the Arab and African countries should be respected by all other countries and that encroachment and interference from any quarter should be opposed. These five principles represented the concrete application of the Five Principles of Peaceful Co-Existence and a development of the Bandung spirit. Premier Zhou repeatedly stressed that mutual economic assistance among the Asian and African countries was the kind of assistance between poor friends who were in the same boat pulling oars together. While in Ghana and Mali, the Premier put forward the following eight principles for China's aid to foreign countries: a. The Chinese Government always bases itself on the principle of equality and mutual benefit in providing aid to other countries. It never regards such aid as a kind of unilateral alms but as something mutual. b. In providing aid to other countries, the Chinese Government strictly respects the sovereignty of the recipient countries, and never attaches any conditions or asks for any privileges. c. China provides economic aid in the form of interest-free or low-interest loans and extends the time limit for repayment when necessary so as to lighten the burden of the recipient countries as far as possible. d. In providing aid to other countries, the purpose of the Chinese Government is not to make the recipient countries dependent on China but to help them embark step by step on the road of self-reliance and independent economic development. e. The Chinese Government tries its best to help the recipient countries build projects which require less investment while yielding quicker results, so that the recipient governments may increase their income and accumulate capital. f. The Chinese Government provides the best-quality equipment and material of its own manufacture at international market prices. If the equipment and material provided by the Chinese Government are not up to the agreed specifications and quality, the Chinese Government undertakes to replace them. g. In providing any technical assistance, the Chinese Government will see to it that the personnel of the recipient country fully master such technique. h. The experts dispatched by China to help in construction in the recipient countries will have the same standard of living as the experts of the recipient country. The Chinese experts are not allowed to make any special demands or enjoy any special amenities. These eight principles fully give expression to the sincere desire of China in seeking to conduct economic and cultural cooperation with the newly-emerged countries of Asia, Africa and Latin America.
The thirteen-nation tour enhanced the mutual understanding between China and those Asian and African countries, promoted the friendly cooperation between the Chinese people and the peoples of Asia and Africa as well as the cause of solidarity against imperialism and contributed to the peace, stability and prosperity of the Asian and African region. In particular, the five principles and the eight principles set forth by Premier Zhou established the basic norms governing China's relations with all the other third world countries.