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China to further develop ties with Africa: official


18:51, March 20, 2013

BEIJING, March 20 (Xinhua) -- China hopes to consolidate and develop its relations with African countries, Vice Foreign Minister Zhai Jun said on Wednesday.

Zhai made the remarks during a briefing on President Xi Jinping's upcoming visits to Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo, which will take place from March 22 to 30. Xi is also scheduled to attend the fifth BRICS leaders' meeting, which will feature the leaders of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

Zhai said one million Chinese are now doing their business in Africa and there are thousands of Chinese companies there, adding that many entrepreneurs will attend activities to be held during Xi's visit.

China and Africa regard each other as development opportunities and both sides have strong willingness to further strengthen cooperation, Zhai said.

Xi's upcoming visit to Africa is an important diplomatic activity that will enhance comprehensive cooperation among developing countries and promote China-Africa relations, Zhai said.

China-Africa relations represent the cornerstone of China's foreign policy and developing friendly relations with African countries is China's basic national policy, Zhai said.

China and Tanzania have maintained friendly cooperation, coordination and communication in international affairs since they established diplomatic ties 49 years ago, Zhai said, adding that both countries support each other regarding their core interests and major concerns.

China has become Tanzania's largest trading partner and its second-largest source of investment. Bilateral trade volume reached 2.47 billion U.S. dollars last year, up 15.2 percent year on year, Zhai said.

Xi will meet Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and sign bilateral cooperation agreements related to economics, trade and culture, Zhai said.

Xi's visit will consolidate and deepen cooperation between China and Tanzania, Zhai said.

The Chinese president will attend the fifth BRICS summit to be held on March 26 and 27 in Durban, South Africa.

Since China and South Africa established diplomatic relations 15 years ago, bilateral relations have developed greatly, particularly in the fields of education, tourism, technology, economics and trade, Zhai said.

South Africa and China's bilateral trade volume reached 59.9 billion U.S. dollars last year, nearly one-third of the total trade between China and Africa as a whole, Zhai said.

During his visit to South Africa, Xi will meet President Jacob Zuma and Vice President Petrus Kgalema Mothlanthe to exchange views on China-Africa relations and sign agreements related to economics, trade and education, Zhai said.

Xi's visit will deepen bilateral ties and strengthen regional cooperation, Zhai said.

Xi will make a state visit to the Republic of Congo from March 29 to 30, marking the first time for a Chinese president to visit the country since diplomatic relations were forged 49 years ago, Zhai said.

Xi will meet President of the Republic of Congo Denis Sassou Nguesso and exchange views on issues of common concern, as well as sign agreements regarding economics, trade and finance, Zhai said, adding that Xi will also deliver a speech to the country's parliament.

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