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Remarks by Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi At the First Political Consultation Between the Foreign Ministers of China and African Countries

Foreign Minister Ahmed Abou EL Gheit,

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Chinese and African leaders agreed to establish a regular political dialogue mechanism of foreign ministers under the framework of the Forum to strengthen contacts and cooperation. Today, we are here to formally launch this mechanism of political consultations between Chinese and African foreign ministers. Let me first extend my warm welcome and appreciation to you all for attending this meeting. I am so delighted to meet old friends and get to know new friends.

The Beijing Summit of FOCAC last year is a new milestone in the history of China-Africa relationship. It opened a new chapter in China-Africa relations. The Summit established a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges.

Since the Summit, a new starting point in our relations, China and African countries have been working hard to advance the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership and deepen China-Africa practical cooperation in all fields under the principle of "friendship, peace, cooperation and development".

To establish and strengthen the new type of strategic partnership is a major strategic decision made by China and Africa for the new century and new era. Our regular political dialogue mechanism, as an important follow-up step to the Summit, will surely help grow and deepen this relationship.

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

To promote the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership, what we need to do now is to fully implement the Summit outcomes, in particular, the eight policy measures announced by the Chinese Government to strengthen China-Africa practical cooperation and support Africa in its efforts to speed up development.

The year 2007 is the first year of implementing the Summit outcomes. We are glad that both China and Africa have attached great importance to and made concerted efforts to implement the Summit outcomes. In less than a year since the Summit, follow-up actions have been taken in all fields, and new progress has been made in China-Africa cooperation.

- China and Africa are bound by even closer political ties. The two sides have maintained frequent high level exchange of visits and close political dialogues and consultations in various forms. There are active exchanges between our parliaments, political parties, local authorities and peoples. All this has helped increase mutual understanding and trust. China actively supports African countries in their efforts to strengthen themselves through unity and the process of African integration, and has intensified its exchange and cooperation with the African Union and sub-regional organizations of Africa. A special representative on African affairs has been appointed by the Chinese Government.

- China-Africa practical cooperation has deepened. The eight policy measures are being fully implemented. China has increased its development assistance to African countries. Steps on debt cancellation and tariff exemption will soon be completed. The foundation of the African Union conference centre was laid. China-Africa Development Fund was launched. The construction of assistance projects such as hospitals, demonstration centers for agro-technology and rural schools is in full swing and important progress has been made. Several Chinese trade and economic cooperation zones are under construction in some countries. China has helped train more than 3,600 professionals for Africa this year. Breakthroughs have been made in China-Africa cooperation in finance, technology and civil aviation. During January-July period this year, China-Africa trade reached US$39.3 billion, a year-on-year increase of nearly 30%.

- China and Africa have given each other stronger mutual support. China actively supports Africa in taking initiatives to maintain peace and security in the region. It has made unremitting efforts for a comprehensive and proper solution to the Darfur issue. We have continued to take an active part in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa and provided financial support for peacekeeping missions of the African Union. China has almost 1,300 peacekeepers deployed in seven peacekeeping areas in Africa. The African countries firmly support the one China policy. The attempt of the Taiwan authorities to "join the UN "was once again foiled at the General Committee of the current session of the UN General Assembly. This would not have been possible without our African friends' staunch support to China. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I would like to express appreciation to your countries for your consistent support for China's reunification.

Owing to time constraint, I am afraid I will not go into details about the progress in implementing the follow-up steps to the Beijing Summit. Relevant written information will be provided to you by the Chinese delegation.

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The world is undergoing profound changes and economic globalization is accelerating. To pursue peace, development and cooperation has become a major trend in the world today. Countries around the world want to help each other, share opportunities, work together to address challenges and achieve common development.

We are glad to note that over the past year, Africa has continued to enjoy general peace and stability and made steady progress in its effort to strengthen itself through unity. It has maintained robust economic growth and taken an active part in international exchanges and cooperation. The international community is focusing more on Africa and especially its development, and has increased input in Africa. The continent faces rare opportunities for speeding up its development.

China and Africa are good friends, close partners and dear brothers. To safeguard and grow China-Africa relations is our shared historical mission. China is ready to continue to work with Africa and take the following steps:

First, to deepen traditional friendship and strengthen political mutual trust. We should unswervingly treat each other as true friends and equals. We should increase high-level contacts, conduct strategic dialogue, enhance mutual understanding and trust, build new consensus and create new impetus for growing our relations.

Second, to expand practical cooperation and share the fruits of development. We should adhere to the principle of mutual benefit, win-win cooperation and common development, upgrade our bilateral relations in both quantitative and qualitative terms, so as to ensure the healthy and sustained development of China-Africa cooperation to the benefit of our peoples.

Third, to increase people-to-people and cultural exchanges and build strong popular support for enhancing China-Africa friendship. We should carry out cultural exchanges in various forms to enrich and advance the two great civilizations of China and Africa. We should enhance mutual understanding and friendship between our peoples through non-governmental exchanges at all levels.

Fourth, to strengthen solidarity and cooperation and maintain close consultations. We should increase dialogue and coordination on major international and regional issues to jointly uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries. We should urge the international community to increase support for Africa in its efforts to seek peace and speed up development.

Fifth, to enhance institutional building and develop innovative ways of cooperation. We should take implementing the outcomes of the Beijing Summit as a good opportunity, enhance the functions of FOCAC and explore new ideas and means of cooperation within the framework of FOCAC.

Dear colleagues,

Ladies and Gentlemen,

The new type of China-Africa strategic partnership is a part of the global development partnership. China-Africa cooperation goes hand in hand with international development cooperation. As we have seen, China-Africa cooperation is based on equality and mutual benefit, and is open and harmonious. And we are confident this will continue to be the case.

We are convinced that by forging a new type of strategic partnership and deepen practical cooperation in an all-round way, China and Africa will surely make great contribution to building a harmonious world and promoting common development.

In concluding, I wish the consultations every success.

Thank you!

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