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Implement Results of FOCAC Summit, Forge a New Monument to China-Africa Relations

--Book Presentation of A Monument to China-Africa Friendship Held at AU Headquarters

2016/05/25

Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia, is also the political capital of Africa. The towering African Union (AU) Commission Conference Center and office complex, which was built with China’s assistance, has become the most prominent landmark in the city. On May 23, 2016, the Policy Planning Department of the Foreign Ministry and Chinese Mission to the AU jointly held the book presentation of the English version of A Monument to China-Africa Friendship: First-hand Account of the Building of Tazara in this iconic building that symbolizes a new paradigm of China-Africa friendly cooperation and the unity and rise of Africa. Director-General of the Policy Planning Department Wang Yajun delivered a keynote speech entitled “Implement the Results of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit, Forge a New Monument to China-Africa Relations”. Chargés d’affaires of the Chinese Mission to the AU Chen Xufeng also addressed the book presentation. Ambassador Baso Sangqu, Chief Advisor of Chairperson Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma of African Union Commission (AUC), Susan Sikanetta, Zambian Ambassador to the AU, and Mwakuissa, Minister-Counselor of Tanzanian Mission to the AU also attended the event and made remarks. The book presentation was presided over by Zhao Baogang, Counselor of Chinese Mission to the AU. More than 100 people including AUC officials, officials from Foreign Ministry of Ethiopia, representatives of envoys from African countries to the AU, and Chinese and foreign journalists attended the book presentation.

Wang Yajun expressed that more than 50 years ago, Premier Zhou Enlai paid his first visit to Africa where he sequentially visited ten countries, opening the door to China-Africa friendly cooperation. At that time, national liberation movement was surging forward vigorously on the African continent. Newly-independent countries were in urgent need of breaking the blockade of the racial segregation system, developing national economy, and promoting national independence and emancipation. The older generations of leaders including Chairman Mao Zedong and Premier Zhou Enlai made the resolute decision to assist the Tazara construction. When the African people needed help the most, China overcame great difficulties and showed a broad mind and great courage by providing strong supports for the cause of national liberation of the African people. In those years of hardships and glories, China and Africa always understood and supported each other, forged profound militant friendship, and became a natural community of shared destiny.

After over a half century, no matter how the international situation may change, the China-Africa friendship has passed down from generation to generation on the sound basis laid by the older generations of leaders. In 2013, President Xi Jinping paid his first overseas visit to Africa since he took office. During the visit, he proposed the policy of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith towards Africa and emphasized the adherence to the correct viewpoint of righteousness and benefit. President Xi Jinping specifically talked about Tazara, suggesting that we should advance and enrich the Tazara spirit, inherit the past, usher in the future, keep pace with the times, and promote the China-Africa friendly cooperation for more fruitful results. At the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit held in last December, Chinese and African leaders jointly decided to lift China-Africa relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation, and to make joint efforts to strengthen the five “major pillars” of political equality and mutual trust, win-win economic cooperation, mutually enriching cultural exchanges, mutual assistance in security, as well as solidarity and coordination in international affairs. Both sides announced that in the next three years, priority will be given to the implementation on the ten major China-Africa cooperation plans in the industrialization, agricultural modernization and other aspects. The results of the summit not only are the overall planning and top-level design of China-Africa cooperation in the new period, but also include concrete implementation plans on cooperation and capital support measures, which has started a new age for China-Africa cooperation.

Wang Yajun pointed out that current China-Africa relations stand at a new historical starting point, as China and Africa are becoming a closer community of shared destiny, which is shown by the stronger political mutual trust between China and Africa, more corresponding development strategies, more solid cooperation foundation, and more tacit understanding in international collaboration. Against current background of sluggish world economic recovery and downward pressure on China’s economy, China does not reduce its investment in Africa, but instead provides large-scale financial support for China-Africa cooperation, which fully demonstrates China’s firm resolution, determination and devotion to the development of China-Africa cooperation. As a country that honors its promises and suits its action to the word, China stands ready to work with African countries to unswervingly implement the results of the summit as well as firmly promote greater development of the comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation between China and Africa. For the next step, both China and Africa should stick to equal consultation to push for the effective docking of working ideas for implementation at an early date; adhere to promoting work in all areas by drawing upon the experience gained on key points in order to steadily enhance production capacity cooperation and industrial connection between China and Africa; and insist on win-win cooperation so as to ensure the sustainable development of China-Africa cooperation.

Wang Yajun emphasized that on the path of Tazara construction, China and Africa are good partners pressing forward with indomitable will, true friends with equal treatment and selfless devotion, and brothers risking lives for each other and sharing weal and woe. On the new journey of implementing outcomes from FOCAC Summit and working together to pursue common development, China and Africa should continue to carry forward the Tazara spirit and jointly forge a new monument to China-Africa friendship in the new period.

 

Baso Sangqu expressed that an important feature of Africa-China cooperation is the common challenges and shared destiny faced by the economic and social development of both sides. Africa-China cooperation is based on political equality and mutual respect, economic mutual benefit and win-win results, cultural exchanges and mutual learning, mutual support in security affairs, solidarity and cooperation in international affairs and other principles. At present, the focus of Africa-China cooperation has been shifted to the implementation of AU Agenda 2063 and the ten major Africa-China cooperation plans. In terms of infrastructure construction, China is Africa’s most important cooperative partner. Currently Africa and China are discussing about launching the construction of “three networks and industrialization” in the African continent, including high-speed railway projects. Both Africa and China should enhance mechanism construction and docking of the summit outcomes so as to let the AU member states and the African people benefit from the early harvest from the implementation of the summit outcomes at an early date.

Susan Sikanetta delivered a touching speech and recited a poem in praise of great China, earning overwhelming applause from the audience. She expressed that the Policy Planning Department of the Foreign Ministry has compiled the touching history of aiding Tazara construction into lively, detailed, accurate and long-lasting written record, which marks a work of historic significance in the constant development of Africa-China relations. At this special moment of the publication of A Monument to China-Africa Friendship, she would like to pay high tribute to all Chinese brothers and sisters who have devoted their lives to building Tazara. Their devotions are moving and praiseworthy and their spirits and memories are everlasting. The Zambian government has decided to allot a beautiful land to build a cemetery for them in the hope that they can rest in peace. The seed of Africa-China friendship sown by Tazara has yielded fruits of everlasting Zambia-China and Africa-China friendships. Today, the AU is committed to promoting the comprehensive development of the African continent through facilitating the construction of high-speed railway network on this soil. In this regard, A Monument to China-Africa Friendship undoubtedly brings local people more hopes and inspirations. As China leads the world in high-speed railway technology, Zambia will continue to learn from China and cooperate with China. China is Zambia's friend in need and friend indeed. China holds an irreplaceable place in the hearts of the Zambian people.

Mwakuissa recalled affectionately her witnessing the opening of Tazara with her parents in her childhood and expressed that for decades Tazara has become an indispensable part of the Tanzanian people in their daily life, and the Tazara culture has been deeply infused into the Tanzanian people’s veins. She read out the written speech from Tanzanian Ambassador to Ethiopia and the AU Naimi Aziz. In the speech, Naimi Aziz expressed that currently Tazara undertakes the import and export transportation of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, the Great Lakes region in Africa, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and plays an important role in the trade of countries of the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) and the Southern African Development Community (SADC). Tazara revitalization is of essential significance for both Tanzania and Zambia and it is hoped that China could lend a helping hand again and play a significant role.

   

Chen Xufeng stated in his speech that A Monument to China-Africa Friendship makes us recall the past in the light of the present and review the development history of China-Africa friendship. It also makes us look into the future and nurse full confidence in the prospects of China-Africa cooperation. We believe that with joint efforts of the Chinese and African peoples, the fruitful results of FOCAC Johannesburg Summit will be fully implemented and constantly push forward China-Africa relations. China-Africa cooperation faces heavy tasks on the long road, along with both opportunities and challenges. Both China and Africa should draw wisdom and gain strength from history and make joint efforts to constantly forge a new monument to China-Africa friendly cooperation.

After the book presentation, present guests visited a photo exhibition of Tazara. Director-General Wang Yajun also paid a call on AUC Acting Chairperson Ms. Fatima Haram Acyl and presented her with a copy of A Monument to China-Africa Friendship.

A Monument to China-Africa Friendship: First-hand Account of the Building of Tazara is compiled by the Policy Planning Department of the Foreign Ministry and is published by the World Affairs Press. The Chinese version has 220, 000 words, consisting of two parts— document literature and compilation of dictation by the witnesses. The English and French versions only include the compilation of dictation. The Policy Planning Department of the Foreign Ministry has held three book presentations in Tanzania, Zambia and the AU headquarters in Ethiopia, receiving warm welcome.

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