Between June 17th and 24th, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao will pay visits to seven African countries, namely Egypt, Ghana, the Republic of the Congo, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Wen's visit aims to consolidate and develop the traditional friendship between China and African countries, expand mutually beneficial cooperation, and further develop and strengthen Sino-African strategic partnerships.
The extensive visit to African countries is another major diplomatic action following the publication of "China's Africa Policy" paper by the Chinese government early this year and Chinese President Hu Jintao's successful visit to three African countries in April. Wen��s visit is widely welcomed by the African countries and has caused widespread international concern.
Since it was established in 1949, China has attached great importance to developing, consolidating and strengthening its relations with African nations, and has therefore developed a series of policies on the development of the China-African partnership. For over half a century, China has supported African countries in their political demands for justice and in any other reasonable propositions, given an impetus to the attention of the international community for peace and development in Africa, and backed African countries in their campaign for equal participation in international affairs.
Economically, China has tried its best to provide aid to African countries. In spite of its limited financial and material resources, China has helped Africa with nearly 900 projects including the Tazara Railway, which played an important role in promoting the economic development of African countries and improving people��s livelihood. China has been selfless and sincere in providing generous assistance to Africa without any political agenda, pressure or interference in their internal affairs. African countries have also strongly supported China in all aspects. The Chinese government and Chinese people will never forget this.
Since the beginning of the new century, the political relationships between China and African countries have become more mature with their economic and trade cooperation entering a new stage. The China-Africa Cooperation Forum, established in 2000, has become an effective mechanism for collective dialogue between China and African countries and an important platform for them to carry out pragmatic cooperation. In the past six years, leaders of both sides have paid frequent visits to each other. The trade volume between China and African countries increased from US$10.5 billion to US$40 billion with China's trade deficit reaching US$2.4 billion. Under the framework of the Forum, China has remitted more than 10.5 billion Yuan of debt for 31 African countries and imposed zero tariffs on 29 of the least developed countries covering 190 export commodities. China has trained about 10,000 personnel in all fields for African countries and chosen 16 African countries as destinations for outbound Chinese tourists. China has also sent youth volunteers to African countries.
In September 2005, in his speech delivered at the Security Council Summit on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations, Chinese President Hu Jintao suggested five major ways to help developing countries accelerate their development over the next three years. African countries will be the main beneficiaries. In April this year during his visit to Africa, President Hu further elaborated on these five proposals and the development of a new Sino-African strategic partnership. China's aid to African nations has achieved remarkable success and they have been widely commended by African countries and peoples for their assistance.
It is the policy of the Chinese government to develop a partnership based on sincere friendship, equality, mutual benefit, solidarity, cooperation, and common development with African countries. China and African countries have become all-weather friends, sincere partners in cooperation, and like-minded brothers. The Sino-African friendship and cooperation is an excellent example of south-south cooperation. The total population of China and African countries accounts for one third of the world's population. The mutual support and respect between the two sides in the political field and the mutually beneficial relationship in the economic field will not only promote their development and improve the living standard of their peoples, but will also contribute greatly to world peace and development.
The facts continue to reflect that China's policy in Africa is built on the basis of the common and long-term strategic interests of both and that the friendly, cooperative relationship - which has ensured long-term stability and equality and brought benefits to both - is the result of joint efforts by the leaders of generations of both sides. This can never be spoiled by changes in the world situation or by individual circumstances, or thwarted by people who have ulterior motives, who hype up what they see as Chinese economic colonialism, or China preying on Africa��s resources. China-Africa friendship and cooperation will enter a new stage.
By People's Daily Online