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  Home > FOCAC Archives > The 2nd Ministerial Conference > Follow-up Actions
Speech of Assistant Minister Shen Guofang at the Opening Ceremony of China-Africa Seminar on Consular Affairs
2005/09/19

 

Dear delegates,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

China-Africa Seminar on Consular Affairs now begins. This is the first consular affairs seminar held under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. It marks a new area of China-Africa pragmatic cooperation. On behalf of the Chinese Government, I would like to extend a warm welcome to African friends, and sincerely hope that this seminar will enhance mutual understanding and trust in the consular field and bring China-Africa consular cooperation to a higher level.

 

For a long time, China and African countries have trusted, supported and closely coordinated with each other in fighting for national independence and liberation, safeguarding state sovereignty, the interests of developing countries and promoting economic development. Our cooperation in the political, the economic, trade, cultural, educational, health care and many other fields has been deepened and yielded fruitful results. The Forum on China-Africa cooperation launched with the joint efforts of the two sides at the turn of the century has elevated China-Africa friendly exchanges and comprehensive cooperation to a new level.

 

Recent years see rapid development in China-Africa consular relations. China has set up 9 consular agencies in 6 African countries, namely, Egypt, South Africa, Nigeria, Tanzania, Cameron, and Madagascar. African countries have set up over 30 consular and honorary consular agencies in China's mainland, Hong Kong SAR and Macao SAR. The reciprocal establishment of consular agencies not only enriches bilateral relations, but also greatly promotes two-way trade and people-to-people exchanges. Statistics show that China-Africa trade volume reached US$29.462 billion in 2004, marking a year-on-year increase of 58.9% over 2003; from January to May 2005, two-way trade topped US$18.078 billion, a year-on-year increase of 42.57%. China has sent a growing number of technical and labor service personnel to Africa to match its expanding aid, investment, and scale of construction projects in Africa. By last May, 12 African countries had been granted Approved Destination Status by China and become tourist destinations for more and more Chinese people. According to incomplete statistics, 45,500 Chinese chose South Africa and Egypt as first stops of their overseas trips in 2004. From January to May this year, 26,200 Chinese made 12 ADS countries in Africa their first stops for overseas trips. At the same time, more and more African people have come to China for study, visits, sightseeing, or business. Africans are seen everywhere in China. The deepened China-Africa economic and trade relations and frequent people-to-people exchanges have made it all the more necessary for us to strengthen consular cooperation. 

 

To develop China-Africa consular relations serves our overall friendly relations and immediate interests, and contributes significantly to friendly people-to-people exchanges and communication and cooperation in various fields. Currently, China and Africa enjoy great development space and cooperation potential in, among others, expatriate education and management, passport and visa issuance, entry and exit regulation, and consular protection. The Chinese Government is willing to, in a spirit of cooperation through friendly consultation, hold regular or irregular consular consultations and dialogues with African countries to have extensive and in-depth exchange of views on the most pressing problems and issues of common interest in bilateral or multilateral consular relations, so as to enhance understanding, expand consensus, and strengthen cooperation for win-win results. I hope this seminar will serve as a new starting point for China-Africa consular cooperation, and elevate our consular relations to a new height.

 

Dear delegates,

Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,

 

China-Africa Seminar on Consular Affairs is a discussion among friends, so every one can speak freely about his or her successful practices and experience, and explore new means and modalities for China-Africa consular cooperation in an in-depth manner. After the seminar, the delegates will visit the cities of Shenyang and Shenzhen. I hope these visits will help you to gain some first-hand knowledge about China's national conditions, and a deeper understanding of China.

 

In conclusion, I wish this seminar a complete success, and all of you a pleasant stay here in China.

 

Thank you!

 

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