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Speech by Vice Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the Opening Ceremony of the Second AASROC Ministerial Meeting (20 August 2004 Durban, South Africa)

2004/08/25

The Honorable Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Africa,

Your Excellency Hassan Wirayuda, Minister for Foreign Affairs of Indonesia,

Fellow Delegates,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

    It gives me great honor to attend the Ministerial Meeting of the Second Asian-African Sub-Regional Organizations Conference (AASROC) on behalf of the Government of the People's Republic of China. I would like to begin by expressing my thanks to the co-chairs of this conference, South Africa and Indonesia, for their contribution to advancing the process of AASROC, and in particular, to our host South Africa for its thoughtful arrangements for this conference.

    Fifty years ago, statesmen of the older generation from Asia and Africa gathered in Bandung, Indonesia, and gave birth to the now-famous "Bandung Spirit". It is not only an invaluable treasure for people in Asia and Africa, but also an inexhaustible powerhouse for greater solidarity and cooperation between Asia and Africa in the new circumstances.

    In today's world, economic globalization has presented historic development opportunities and unprecedented and grave challenges to the developing countries, including those in Asia and Africa. A revival of solidarity and cooperation between Asia and Africa is therefore instrumental in meeting those challenges.

    China has all along been vigorously advocating and faithfully acting on Asian-African solidarity and cooperation. Back in 1955, China made its historic contribution to the success of the Bandung Conference. Today, China is, as always, paying close attention to and conscientiously promoting Asian-African cooperation. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, which was initiated by China, has become a major platform for collective dialogue and an effective mechanism for pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa. China is also working with ASEAN countries to facilitate greater regional cooperation, making 10+3 cooperation one of the most dynamic in the region. Besides, the Forum on China-Arab Cooperation was launched earlier this year and its first ministerial meeting is soon to be held.

    Formed against this new backdrop, the AASROC offers us a new platform to boost and pool our strength, integrate our resources and go for cooperation.

    The Chinese Government highly appreciates and fully supports the initiative made by countries like South Africa and Indonesia on building an Asian-African New Strategic Partnership. We endorse the Co-Chairs Statement released July last year and the consensus reached at the working group meeting last March. We are ready to play an active role in the preparations for next year's Asia-Africa Summit.

    We believe that AASROC, which should be an open and accommodating conference, needs to follow the principle of gradual and orderly progress, stress on practical results, mutual benefit and seeking win-win results for all, and do the following properly:

    First, to give guidance to the institutional building of AASROC and the establishment of the Asian-African New Strategic Partnership in the spirit of "solidarity, equality and cooperation" advocated in the Bandung conference.

    Second, to respect diversity among civilizations and the right of all countries to choose their own roads to development independently, and to jointly promote multilateralism and more democratized international relations.

    Third, to step up exchanges and mutual learning in order to share each other's development experience and achievements and promote all-directional cooperation. It is important to make the existing cooperation between countries and regional organizations an important ingredient of the Asian-African cooperation framework.

    Fourth, to expand exchanges at various levels to enhance mutual understanding and friendship between Asian-African peoples.

    Fifth, to strengthen consultation and coordination in regional and international affairs to jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries.

    Sixth, open up oneself to the rest of the world to learn from and draw upon advanced achievements of the present-day civilizations. We should vigorously promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue with countries in other regions and seek common development by seizing the opportunities presented by globalization.

    China always belongs to the family of the developing countries. Stronger solidarity and cooperation with the vast number of the developing countries in Asia and Africa forms the cornerstone of China's foreign policy. China's reform and opening-up in the past twenty years and more have brought about tremendous progress in our modernization drive, which will present more opportunities to and have positive impacts on Asia-Africa cooperation. We are ready to work with all countries in Asia and Africa to carry forward the Bandung Spirit for the overall rejuvenation of the two continents.

    Thank you.

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