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Speech by State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan at The Reception by African Diplomatic Envoys in China Celebrating the "Africa Day"

2005/06/09

 

Your Excellency Ambassador Eleih-Elle Etian, Dean of the African Diplomatic Corps in China,

Your Excellency Ambassador Jonathan Oluwole Coker,

Distinguished Diplomatic Envoys,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Friends,

    On the occasion of the “Africa Day”, a great festival for African countries and people, I would like to extend, on behalf of the Chinese Government and people, our warmest congratulations to you, and through you, to people and governments of African countries.

    The “Africa Day” testifies African people’s aspirations for peace, stability and development, demonstrates African people’s desire for a better and peaceful life and embodies African people’s indomitable faith and determination to become stronger. 25 May 1963 is an epoch-making day for African people as well as the people around the world. Marked by the establishment of the Organization of African Unity (OAU), African countries and people set off on a fresh journey, writing down an immortal chapter for achieving liberation, maintaining solidarity and unity, striving for peace and stability, and promoting integration in Africa. Three years ago, the African Union (AU) was born. This historic change has reenergized African countries in rising to new challenges and striving for African Renaissance and has also brought new substance to the “Africa Day”. Our commemoration of the “Africa Day” today is not only for cherishing the memory of independence and liberation, but also for celebrating development and progress, and looking to the future.

Distinguished Diplomatic Envoys,

Friends,

    Although China and Africa are geographically far apart, the hearts of the Chinese people are always linked to Africa. China and African countries have similar historical experiences. Both sides have supported and helped each other and established profound friendship in the long history of arduous struggles. Leaders from both sides attach great importance to our relations. Initial statistics that we got recently show that, around 560 state leaders and foreign ministers of both China and African countries had 770 exchanges of visits from the 1950’s to the end of 2004. Since 2003, Chinese leaders including President Hu Jintao, NPC Chairman Wu Bangguo, Premier Wen Jiabao and Vice President Zeng Qinghong all have visited Africa. Last year alone, 35 leaders and foreign ministers from Africa visited China. Meanwhile, the exchanges between China and Africa in all fields present a sound momentum of development. Economic cooperation and trade between the two sides has been developing rapidly. Trade volume between the two sides exceeded US$ 10 billion in 2000, and surged to US$ 29.46 billion in 2004, up 58.9% from the previous year. By the end of 2004, China’s direct investment in Africa totaled US$ 625million and nearly 700 enterprises were set up in African countries. Our cooperation in the fields of education, health, culture and science and technology has been expanded and deepened; and cooperation in both international and regional affairs has been strengthened.

    There are great potential and broad prospects for the cooperation between China and Africa. Established in 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has already become an effective mechanism for collective dialogues and an important platform for practical cooperation between China and Africa, and is increasingly demonstrating its boundless vitality. Under the Forum framework, China has already exempted RMB 10.5 billion of due debt owed by the least developed countries and heavily indebted poor countries in Africa, given tariff exemption treatment to some commodities it imports from the 25 least developed African countries; and approved 12 African countries to be tourist destinations for the Chinese citizens. The two sides have deepened their cooperation in such key areas as agriculture, human resources training, and infrastructure construction. Launched by China four years ago, the African Human Resources Development Fund has already helped to train 10, 000 Africans in various fields. China will host the Forum’s third Ministerial Meeting next year. At present, relevant departments from both sides are stepping up their consultations, actively preparing for the Senior Official Meeting of the Forum in the second half of this year, and planning for the future development of the Forum. We will further strengthen consultations with African countries and try to make the next Forum meeting a new milestone of friendship between China and Africa.

Distinguished Diplomatic Envoys,

Friends,

    China is developing, so is Africa. While facing important development opportunities and new challenges, both China and Africa shoulder common responsibility and mission. New situations and challenges will unite China and Africa even more closely. Maintaining world peace and promoting common development are the goals of China's foreign policy. China is and will always be a member of the developing world, and will always be a sincere friend of Africa. China will unswervingly follow the road of peaceful development. I believe that China’s development is bound to bring about new opportunities for countries around the world including African countries. I also believe that African people have the ability and wisdom to make more contributions to world peace, stability and prosperity through self-development. On the basis of long-term stability, equality and mutual trust and comprehensive cooperation, China stands ready to join hands with Africa to push for even greater development of our friendship and cooperation.

    May Africa enjoy prosperity and its people well-being, and

    May China-Africa friendship be everlasting.

    Thank you!

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