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Build on Past Achievements and Open up the Future of All-round Development of China-Africa Friendship and Cooperation

--Speech by Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the 15th Lanting Forum

2015/11/26

Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

Good morning, and a big welcome to the Lanting Forum.

On 4 to 5 December, we will usher in an important moment in the history of China-Africa relations. The Johannesburg summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in South Africa. President Xi Jinping and South African President Zuma will co-chair this summit. The heads of state and government and representatives of 50 African countries and President of the AU Commission will gather together at the summit. The summit coincides with the 15th anniversary of FOCAC, and will be the first summit of FOCAC taking place on the African continent. It will be a milestone on which to build on past achievements and herald the future of China-Africa relations.

China-Africa relations have always had an important place on China's diplomatic agenda, and developing countries constitute the basis of China's overall diplomacy. Africa, being home to the biggest number of developing countries, is truly a major part forming the very basis of China's diplomacy.

Friendly relations with Africa form a good tradition of China's diplomacy. It is a valuable asset for us to be cherished. In 2013, President Xi Jinping chose Africa as the destination of his first foreign visit as the president of China, where he put forth the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith guiding China's policy on Africa, and called for taking the right approach to justice and interests in developing China-Africa relations. President Xi Jinping stated that China will forever be African countries' reliable friend and sincere partner. All this has charted the course for the development of China-Africa relations. In 2014, Premier Li Keqiang visited Africa and raised the cooperation initiatives involving six key projects and three major networks, drawing up the blueprint of China-Africa cooperation.

At present, both sides are satisfied with the smooth development of their relations, and both are full of expectations for the future growth of such relations. China and Africa agree that cooperation with each other serves the needs of both, and has tremendous potential and broad space. Such relations should keep pace with the times in a pioneering and innovative fashion, increase in quality and efficiency and move toward new and greater development. To this end, China and Africa agreed to elevate the 6th ministerial conference of FOCAC to a summit to jointly discuss the long-term strategy of cooperation under new circumstances. This is just as relevant as it is timely.

Firstly, this summit meets the common aspirations of African countries. FOCAC is a banner guiding the development of China-Africa relations. In recent years, FOCAC has propelled China-Africa cooperation onto a fast track. China's contribution to Africa's economic growth has increased significantly. Many African countries attach importance to China's rich experience, available funds, sophisticated technology and cost-effective equipment, accumulated after more than 30 years of reform and opening up. Their hope is to step up cooperation with China and get onboard the express train of China's economic development.

For quite some time, leaders of African countries have expressed to China their hope for elevating the ministerial conference to a summit. Moreover, President Zuma of South Africa, the hosting country, has extended cordial invitation on many occasions to President Xi Jinping to co-chair the FOCAC summit in South Africa. In response to African brothers' strong aspirations, President Xi Jinping gladly agreed to attend the summit to renew friendship, discuss cooperation and pursue development together with African leaders to take China-Africa friendly relations and cooperation to a new height.

The FOCAC summit also meets the real need of China-Africa relations. In recent years, Africa has enjoyed overall stability and sound momentum of economic development. Some African countries have been among the fastest in terms of economic growth. African countries are seizing the opportunities to accelerate the industrialization process and strive to catch up with the tide of world development. China has become the world's second largest economy. Its industrialization is gradually maturing. A number of strong industries and production capacity need to access international markets. After years of development, China-Africa practical cooperation has entered a new stage where we need to seek higher quality and more effective and all-round development.

China has the conditions and ability to help Africa in its industrialization process. We are sincere and willing to support Africa in realizing independent and sustainable development. African countries increasingly regard China as their most important and reliable partner of cooperation. The FOCAC summit, held in such a context, will enable the two sides to adapt to each other's needs, draw on their respective strengths, and make comprehensive plan on cooperation in various fields, particularly in industrialization and agricultural modernization that are of intense interest to Africa. All this will give new substance and impetus to China-Africa cooperation.

The FOCAC summit is a necessary step to consolidate unity of developing countries. The world today is going through major development, transformation and readjustment. Developing countries have gained rising status and greater role in international and regional affairs. However, the current international structure and international governance system is yet to be fully reflective of these changes. Both China and African nations are developing countries. We hold common views and similar positions on many international and regional issues.

China and Africa's population adds up to more than 2.4 billion and accounts for over a third of the world's total. Stepping up China-Africa cooperation not only contributes to China and Africa's development, which is conducive to world peace and development. It also helps step up South-South cooperation, uphold the interests of developing countries as a whole, and make the international order more equitable and reasonable. China and Africa holding the second FOCAC summit will demonstrate developing countries' strength of unity and cooperation, and send a strong signal of China and Africa working together for peace, development and cooperation.

Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

The theme of the upcoming summit is China and Africa Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development.

The first keyword is progressing together. This spirit is rooted in the long-standing traditional friendship and mutual support between China and Africa. Early in the 15th century, China's navigator Zheng He headed his fleet and arrived at the east coast of Africa for four times. That was a time when China was the strongest in the world. What they brought to Africa were silk and porcelain, and friendship and goodwill. They did not grab an inch of land. Nor did they ever take back one single slave.

China and Africa have always been in a community of shared future. Our common cause and common aspiration have bonded us closely together.

We will never forget that in the middle of the last century, the Chinese people, after winning national liberation, gave full support to African countries in their just struggle to oppose hegemonism, colonialism and to gain national independence and liberation. The two sides forged deep friendship. Premier Zhou Enlai used to spend two months for his visit to 10 African countries, to promote friendly ties and cooperation with Africa, leaving behind touching stories which continue to inspire future generations of the world.

We will never forget that the people of China, Tanzania and Zambia relied on their own strength, overcame multiple difficulties and built the world-renowned Tazara Railway in less than six years, a project that many people deemed a "mission impossible". It played a big role helping our African brothers smash the blockade imposed by the apartheid regime and gain national independence and liberation in southern Africa. Sixty-five Chinese workers gave their lives for the construction of the railway and were laid to rest on the African continent, building a monument of China-Africa friendship. Such passion for Africa inspired generations of young people to give themselves to continued friendship and cooperation between China and Africa.

We will never forget that our African brothers, withstanding tremendous pressure, firmly supported New China in restoring its lawful seat at the United Nations, which greatly enhanced the standing and weight of developing countries at the UN Security Council. The moment of African representatives celebrating at the UN headquarters will always be cherished by the Chinese and African people.

We will never forget that, last year, when the Ebola epidemic wrecked havoc in west Africa and many international airlines stopped flying there, China rented chartered planes flying half of the globe across three continents to deliver materials urgently needed by people in the epidemic-stricken areas. When some countries were evacuating their people, China was sending in top-level experts and medical workers to join the local communities in fighting against Ebola.

There is a popular Chinese song named "Hold Your Hands". The lyrics go like this, "Because I traveled the path you have traveled and suffered the pain you have suffered, I share your joy and pursuit." I think it can also be borrowed to describe the relations between China and Africa. Chinese and African people have suffered from similar scourge, and both have traveled a path fraught with hardship. That is why we are able to understand each other, share weal and woe and join hands in pursuing the same goal and same dream.

The second keyword is win-win cooperation, a concept that injects strong impetus to the development of China-Africa relations. President Xi Jinping proposed in explicit terms the building of a new type of international relations featuring win-win cooperation. As we endeavor to achieve this goal, African friends remain the most important cooperation partners for China and China-Africa cooperation could serve as a good example of win-win development between developing countries. China has been Africa's largest trading partner for six years straight. In 2014, trade between China and Africa topped 220 billion US dollars, 22 times higher than where it stood in 2000 when FOCAC was launched. It accounted for 20.5% of Africa's total foreign trade, up from the original 3.82%. As we speak, China's investment stock in Africa has exceeded 30 billion US dollars, 60 times that of the year 2000 and keeping an annual growth rate at above 20% in recent years. There are more than 3,000 Chinese enterprises doing business in Africa. In 2014, more than 3.6 million mutual visits were made between China and Africa.

Cooperation between China and Africa is mutually beneficial. Instead of seeking unilateral gains, China is committed to promoting independent and sustainable development in Africa and helping Africa address problems of inadequate infrastructure and skilled personnel, two bottlenecks hindering development. China has made tremendous efforts toward this end. As of September 2015, there were a total of 5,675 kilometers of railway and 4,507 kilometers of road in Africa built or being built by China through aid or financing support. China has built more than 200 schools in Africa using aid or financing support. Every year, China provides more than 7,000 government scholarships to Africa and hosts more than 100 workshops and training sessions on technologies and management. Since the inception of FOCAC, China has trained more than 81,000 professionals in various fields for the African side.

China-Africa cooperation is all-round cooperation. When helping Africa grow its economy, China pays more attention to fostering a peaceful and stable environment for sustained development in Africa. China participates in, supports and contributes to peace and security affairs in Africa. China firmly supports the people of Africa in finding African solutions to African problems. China has sent more peacekeepers to Africa than the other four permanent members of the Security Council. China has taken part in 16 peacekeeping operations in Africa, and sent a total of nearly 30,000 peacekeepers. Since 2009, Chinese escort missions have never stopped in the Gulf of Aden and off the waters of Somalia. In September this year, President Xi Jinping announced at the UN Peacekeeping Summit that in the coming five years, China will provide a total of 100 million US dollars of free military aid to the AU to support the building of the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis, with a view to playing a bigger and more constructive role in peace and security in Africa. We were saddened by the killing of three Chinese citizens in the terrorist attack in Mali a few days ago. They were engineers and technicians who had been there over the years to help Africa's development and promote China-Africa cooperation. Going forward, while advancing its pragmatic cooperation with Africa, China will also strengthen cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism. Whatever the difficulties, the Chinese people will always stand on the side of the African people, because we are good friends, good partners and good brothers.

China-Africa cooperation is built on an equal-footed and voluntary basis. China never attaches political conditions to its assistance to Africa, never asks for anything that is impossible or unacceptable to Africa. China never interferes in the internal affairs of African countries and never makes empty promises to its African brothers. China will never follow the same path traveled by traditional powers in its cooperation with Africa, nor do anything at the expense of the environment or long-term interests of Africa. No one knows better than African people that any observation on China-Africa cooperation, made through colored glasses or out of ulterior motives, pales before a huge amount of facts and will never be acceptable to the Chinese and African people.

The third keyword is common development, a concept that opens up brighter prospects for China-Africa relations. To grow the economy and improve people's lives are the common tasks facing China and Africa. China has come to the crucial stage for completing the building of a moderately prosperous society in all respects and is striving for the realization of the Chinese dream of national renewal. At the end of October, the Communist Party of China held the fifth plenum of the 18th CPC Central Committee. It reviewed and adopted the Proposal by the CPC Central Committee on the 13th Five Year Plan on national economic and social development, which put forward new objectives and ideas for China's economic development in the next stage. We will establish and implement in real earnest the concept of innovative, coordinated, green, open and shared development, maintain a growth rate of over 6.5%, double the GDP and per capita income for both urban and rural residents by 2020 on the basis of the 2010 figures and endeavor to lift everyone in the country out of poverty. As China accelerates the shift of its development model, and continues to promote a new type of industrialization, IT application, urbanization and agricultural modernization, the Chinese economy will unleash even more potential and its opening up will enter a new stage. In the coming five years, China is expected to import over 10 trillion US dollars worth of goods, invest over 500 billion US dollars overseas, and more than 500 million Chinese tourists will travel abroad. A medium-high growth rate of the Chinese economy means great opportunities for Africa and the world.

African countries are now joining hands in chasing the African Dream of greater strength and prosperity through unity as envisioned in the Agenda 2063. The Chinese Dream and the African Dream very well synergize with each other. China enjoys relative advantages in development experience and production factors. This, combined with Africa's relative advantages in natural and human resources and its huge market, will produce tremendous synergy that is bigger than simply adding up the two parts. China and Africa have the conditions, capacity and confidence to progress together in the grand cause of common development and build a brighter future of prosperity, strength, advanced culture and progress.

Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

Now the preparations for the FOCAC Johannesburg summit have almost finished. President Xi Jinping will deliver a keynote speech addressed to the entire Africa at the opening ceremony. He will give a systematic account on China's new concepts, policies and propositions for relations with Africa, and announce a series of major measures to advance China-Africa relations further down the road. The summit will review and adopt two outcome documents, the Declaration of the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Johannesburg Action Plan (2016-2018). The two documents will expound on views and propositions of both sides on China-Africa relations as well as major regional and international issues, and map out cooperation in all areas for the coming three years. President Xi Jinping will have an in-depth exchange of views with African leaders on bilateral ties and regional and international issues of shared interest on both bilateral and multilateral occasions.

This summit is going to have a fully packed and rich program and will carry great significance. All parties are closely following and have great expectations for the summit. We are sure that with joint efforts of both sides, the summit will be a great success and produce fruitful results.

The summit will build on past achievements and open up new horizons. China-Africa relations are at a new historical starting point, and occupy a stronger position on the external strategy of both China and African countries. It is the ardent hope of both sides that the relations will move up onto a higher plane. At the summit, Chinese and African leaders will review the past and envisage the future, and set out plans for future growth of China-Africa relations under new circumstances from a comprehensive and strategic perspective. We expect the upgrading of the strategic definition of China-Africa relations to fully reflect the future vision and inject new impetus into the comprehensive growth of China-Africa cooperation.

This summit will deepen cooperation between the two sides. China will announce new measures to strengthen its comprehensive cooperation with Africa in line with real needs of China-Africa cooperation. At the moment, Africa faces two most urgent tasks, i.e. accelerating industrialization and agricultural modernization. We will support Africa to remove two major bottlenecks, namely, backward infrastructure and inadequate professional and skilled personnel. We will focus on helping African countries build three major systems of industrialization, food security as well as public health and disease prevention and control, to resolve three major issues of employment, food supply and health of the African people. Through initiating a series of major cooperation schemes in industrial and production capacity relocation, infrastructure development, human resources development, investment and trade facilitation, green development, financial services as well as peace and security, we will upgrade our practical cooperation, with focus shifting from general trade to production capacity cooperation, from project contracting to investment-based operation, and from government assistance to independent development, so as to achieve common development and prosperity.

This summit will focus on the betterment of the people. To ensure that the benefits reach the entire African population is the major purpose of China's cooperation with Africa. This is the only way for China-Africa cooperation to win true support from the African people and for the growth of China-Africa relations to enjoy a solid foundation. This summit will focus more on people's livelihood, pay more attention to input in poverty reduction, and lean towards the least developed countries as well as communities in greater need of help, such as women and children. We will support more exchanges and cooperation between various communities and sectors and encourage more people to take part in China-Africa cooperation and share the benefits. This will fully demonstrate FOCAC's features of wide consultation, joint development and shared benefits, and provide lasting dynamism and vitality for long-term growth of the FOCAC.

Distinguished Guests,
Dear Friends,

President Xi Jinping once said, only joint development is real development and only sustainable development is good development. The FOCAC summit will soon be unveiled. China and Africa will join hands to ensure rich outcomes at the summit to produce positive energy for peace and development of the whole world. China-Africa cooperation is an important part of international cooperation with Africa. The summit will send a strong signal to the international community that China values, respects and supports Africa. We hope that it will continue to mobilize the international community to increase confidence and investment in Africa. China supports diversification in Africa's cooperation partners and is happy to see more cooperation from all parties of the international community. We hope that Africa's cooperation partners will honor their commitments and take credible steps to support Africa's development. China is ready to work with all parties following the principle of cooperation being initiated, agreed and led by Africa, and jointly make greater contribution to Africa's peace and development.

Now let us turn our eyes to Johannesburg and wish the summit a complete success! Thank you!

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