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Xi's maiden foreign tour historic, fruitful

By Wu Liming (Xinhua)

08:05, April 01, 2013

BEIJING, March 31 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping concluded his maiden foreign tour as China's head of state Sunday, which has been widely perceived as historic and fruitful.

Xi visited Russia, Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of the Congo on March 22-30, and attended the fifth BRICS summit on March 26-27 in Durban, South Africa.

From the historical perspective, Xi's talks with top leaders of the four countries and his speeches delivered in Russia, Tanzania and the Republic of the Congo have shown China will unswervingly follow the path of peaceful development, cherish its traditional friendship with Africa and strengthen ties with neighboring countries such as Russia.

All four countries attached great importance to Xi's visit, which laid the foundation for the success of the tour.

In Russia, besides two banquets held separately by President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, President Xi was also invited to visit the Russian Defense Ministry, a first for a foreign head of state.

Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso met Xi at the airport, and South African President Jacob Zuma described Xi's visit as "absolutely important."

The top Chinese leader also sent a clear message to the international community that China and Africa have been "a community of shared destinies," and they will forever be reliable friends and sincere partners.

As for the tour's fruitfulness, China signed dozens of cooperation agreements in the fields of trade, energy, science and technology, agriculture and culture with the four countries.

During the BRICS summit, which groups Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, the leaders agreed to set up a BRICS development bank, a Contingent Reserve Arrangement, a business council and a think tank council, and unveiled an action plan on further cooperation in nearly 20 fields.

Moreover, Xi's trip has contributed to enhancing China's friendship with other BRICS members and African countries. In addition to talks within BRICS, Xi had a breakfast meeting with leaders from 14 African countries, with the discussions focused on how to promote China-Africa relations.

The Chinese president also pledged to provide zero-tariff treatment for 97 percent of the exports to China from the least developed nations that have diplomatic ties with China, and all related measures would be in place by 2015.

Xi's remarks, like "Whether the shoes fit or not, only the wearer knows" and "Domestic affairs of a nation should be decided by its own people, international issues should be discussed by the countries concerned," which are widely applauded on the Internet, have brought him closer to ordinary people in the four countries.

Xi's visit has promoted the overlap of the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and the world's dream of pursuing prosperity, and the trip will be recorded in China's diplomatic annals.

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