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Home >> China
UPDATED: 07:57, September 19, 2006
China, 48 African countries meet to pave way for Beijing Summit
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Officials from China and 48 African countries on Monday concluded their two-day discussions on preparatory work for a China-Africa summit scheduled for November in Beijing.

"Officials held consultations on a wide range of topics and reached consensus on many items," said a statement issued by the Foreign Ministry.

At the meeting, African officials put forward a number of opinions and suggestions, which have paved the way for the upcoming summit, the statement said.

More than 30 African heads of state or government will attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) scheduled from Nov. 3 to 5, according to the Foreign Ministry.

"The November summit will be the highest-level, largest-scale meeting between China and African leaders since the founding of the People's Republic of China, State Councilor Tang Jiaxuan told the African officials attending the preparatory meeting on Monday.

At the summit, Chinese and African leaders will review the achievements of China-Africa friendly cooperation over the past 50 years, and blueprint bilateral future cooperation and exchange views on major international issues.

"We believe the summit will help deepen mutual understanding and friendship between China and African countries, and provide the basis for stronger and more far-reaching cooperation," Tang said.

It is in the fundamental interests of China and Africa to promote their relations, which is also good for the world peace and development, Tang said.

"Our cooperation will definitely produce more benefits to both as long as we make joint efforts," Tang said.

Hailing the wonderful organization of the summit, Eleih Etian, Cameroonian ambassador in Beijing, said that the preparatory meeting showed the great importance Africa and China attached to the summit.

"The summit manifests the resolution and confidence that Africa and China have to build mutual-beneficial and energetic partnership," Etian said.

The summit, also the 3rd Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC, will focus on the subjects of "friendship, peace, cooperation and development".

Experts said the economic and trade issue, especially the cooperation in the investment sector, will be a major topic between Chinese and African leaders.

China-Africa economic ties have grown rapidly in recent years. Statistics from the Ministry of Commerce show that the two-way trade volume has rocketed from 4 billion U.S. dollars in 1995 to some 40 billion U.S. dollars in 2005.

Chinese direct investment in Africa has amounted to 1.18 billion U.S.dollars, with more than 800 Chinese enterprises on the continent.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of

diplomatic relationship between the People's Republic of China and African countries.

China released its first African policy paper early this year, putting forward its proposals for all-round cooperation with Africa in various fields in the coming years.

FOCAC is a mechanism for collective dialogue and cooperation jointly established by China and Africa to cope with new challenges and facilitate common development.

Since the launch of the FOCAC in 2000, two ministerial conferences have been held in Beijing and Addis Ababa.

Source: Xinhua

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