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Talking Points of Madame Xu Jinghu, Director General of the Department of African Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs At the Briefing of the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation

2004/07/14
From 20 to 29 June, at the invitation of Prime Minister Ghannouchi of the Republic of Tunisia, President Eyadema of the Republic of Togo, President Kerekou of the Republic of Benin and Vice President Zuma of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Vice President Zeng Qinghong of China paid an official visit to the above four countries. This African trip by Vice President Zeng marked an important step in building on the traditional friendship and cooperation between China and Africa, and implementing China’s foreign policy towards Africa. It covered over 35,000 kilometres across the African Continent. During the visit, Vice President Zeng had candid, friendly, substantive and in-depth talks with leaders of the related countries and extensive contacts with people from all circles there. --- In Tunisia, Vice President Zeng held talks with Prime Minister Ghannouchi, and met with President Ben Ali and Speaker Mebazzaa. The two sides signed, among others, an agreement on economic and technical cooperation, a framework agreement on concessional loans, and an agreement on mutual encouragement and protection of investment. --- In Togo, President Eyadema held talks with Vice President Zeng and invited him to his native city of Kala, where Vice President Zeng was welcomed by a grand celebration and decorated with the honour of the Grand Officer of the Order of Mono. Vice President Zeng also met with Speaker Natchaba. The two sides signed an agreement on the establishment of China-Togo joint economic and trade committee, an agreement on economic and technical cooperation and other documents. --- In Benin, Vice President Zeng held talks with President Kerekou and met with Speaker Idji. The two sides signed such documents as an agreement on economic and technical cooperation. --- In South Africa, Vice President Zeng met with President Mbeki, Speaker Mbete, Chairman Kgoali of the National Council of Provinces and former President Mandela. He also had talks with Vice President Zuma and co-chaired with him the Second Plenary Session of the China-South Africa Bi-national Commission. The two vice presidents also attended a seminar on China-South Africa economic cooperation and trade, at which Vice President Zeng delivered a speech entitled “Deepening China-Africa Economic Partnership to Promote Common Development”, putting forward proposals on China-South Africa and China-Africa economic cooperation and trade. During Vice President Zeng’s visit, the Sectoral Committee on Economy and Trade and the Sectoral Committee on Education of the Bi-national Commission also held meetings. The two sides signed an agreement on China-South Africa education cooperation, an MOU on sanitary and phytosanitary consultation mechanism and other agreements. This visit to Africa was the first official visit by Vice President Zeng of the People’s Republic of China since he assumed his present post. It was a visit to meet Africa, understand Africa and learn from Africa. It was a trip aimed at deeper friendship, greater cooperation and common development. The visit was a complete success with many important results achieved. Meet Africa,renew and deepen China-Africa traditional friendship. Despite the geographical distance, China and Africa enjoy a time-honoured friendship. For years, the Chinese and African people have trusted, respected, sympathised with and supported each other, forging a profound friendship. In his visit, Vice President Zeng conveyed the cordial greetings and high respects of the Chinese leaders and people to African leaders and people. He met old friends, made new ones and expressed great appreciation and gratitude to the governments and people of the four countries, and other friendly countries and people in Africa for their precious long-standing support for China’s nation-building and development endeavour and on issues bearing on Chinese people’s interests such as the question of Taiwan and the human rights issue. He stressed that the support and assistance between China and Africa were mutual, and pointed out that in Africa’s cause of maintaining peace and stability and seeking national development, China would, as always, provide the African people with support and assistance within its capability without attaching any political conditions. Recalling many moving scenes in China-Africa friendly exchanges, leaders of these countries spoke highly of the sincere and selfless assistance and support rendered by the Chinese people in African countries’ struggle for national independence and economic growth. They indicated that China was the most sincere friend of the African people, that the friendship between African countries and China was solidly based, and that the two sides should strengthen solidarity and cooperation and deepen friendship for the benefit of their people. The African leaders reiterated their unwavering commitment to the one-China policy and support for China’s grand cause of national reunification and China’s just position in international affairs. Understand Africa,jointly explore new areas and ways for mutually beneficial cooperation. Africa boasts vast land, beautiful scenery, unique civilisation, abundant resources and friendly people. Highly complementary to each other, China and Africa enjoy enormous potential for political, economic and cultural cooperation. Vice President Zeng and leaders of the four African countries agreed to consolidate and strengthen bilateral political relations, enhance the friendly exchanges between their governments, parliaments, political parties and non-governmental organisations, promote economic cooperation in agriculture, infrastructure, telecommunications and energy sectors, intensify exchanges in tourism, education, public health and human resources development so as to deepen the all-dimensional cooperation, and enhance consultation and cooperation in international and regional affairs in the interest of China-Africa, Asia-Africa and South-South cooperation, so as to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries. During Zeng’s visit, China signed an MOU on the implementation plan for the Approved Destination Status (ADS) with Tunisia, and framework agreements on concessional financial facilities with Togo and Benin respectively to fund the two countries’ joint construction project of Adjarala Hydropower Station. China and South Africa established a strategic partnership. South Africa, Togo and Benin announced their recognition of China’s market economy status. China and South Africa Customs Union declared that they would launch free trade area negotiations. In total, China signed 27 agreements on mutually beneficial cooperation with the four African countries. CCPIT Chairman Wan Jifei, who was also a member of Zeng’s delegation, led a group of Chinese entrepreneurs to the four countries for counterpart talks with business communities there, resulting in several intents of cooperation. Besides, CCPIT also signed cooperation agreements with its counterparts in the four countries. All these have promised a broad prospect for China-Africa mutually beneficial cooperation. Learn from Africa, jointly explore ways for nation-building and development. In the past, China and Africa both suffered long years of aggression and plundering by Western powers. Now, they are facing the same task of maintaining stability, accelerating development and uplifting people’s living standards. In recent years, the four African countries have been actively devoted to the cause of strengthening national unity, promoting national reconciliation, maintaining political stability, developing the economy and improving people’s livelihood. Vice President Zeng had deep-going discussions with leaders of these countries on their experience in running the country, and analysed opportunities and challenges facing developing countries. They shared the view that development was the top priority and stability an important guarantee for development. Vice President Zeng pointed out that Africa’s development was of utmost importance, and that without prosperity and development of Africa, there would be no world prosperity and development to speak of. The leaders of the four countries indicated that China’s development served the interest of the vast number of developing countries. They expressed wishes and support for China’s greater progress. Vice President Zeng listened attentively to the views of the African leaders on international and regional hotspot issues. The two sides reached important consensus on many issues and agreed to step up their consultation and cooperation in international affairs as so to add to the voice for multilateralism, promote democracy in international relations and win a sound environment for revitalisation of developing countries. Africa is an important and basic front for China’s diplomatic endeavour. Greater solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa serve the common and long-term interests of the Chinese and African people. The Chinese leaders and Government have always attached great importance to developing friendly relations and cooperation with African countries. China and Africa have all along maintained very close political exchanges as evidenced by frequent high-level meetings and visits. Since China’s new collective leadership took office, Chinese leaders have had 44 meetings and 66 talks with African leaders at and above the deputy prime ministerial level. President Hu Jintao and Premier Wen Jiabao have visited Africa respectively. Vice President Zeng Qinghong just concluded his African trip, making him the third major Chinese leader to visit Africa within a short span of half a year. This has fully demonstrated the importance that the new Chinese leadership attaches to China-Africa relations, and their desire for deeper friendship and broader cooperation between China and Africa. In the first half of this year, we in China have had the honour to receive many heads of state and government and foreign ministers from Africa. Later this year, we will see more African leaders at and above foreign ministerial level coming to China for a visit. We believe such close political exchanges and frequent exchange of high-level visits will surely give a strong impetus to the mutual understanding and cooperation between the two sides, inject fresh vigour and vitality to the traditional China-Africa friendship and bring the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Africa to a new high.
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