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Interview: China actively promotes South-South cooperation: senior UN official

(Xinhua)    08:46, April 30, 2015

UNITED NATIONS, April 29  -- A senior UN official on Wednesday spoke highly of China's active role in promoting South- South cooperation, saying its down-to-earth approach and pragmatic steps benefit most of the people in Asia and Africa.

The measures were announced by Chinese President Xi Jinping when he was addressing the Asian-African summit held in Indonesia on April 22, noted Zhou Yiping, the UN secretary-general's envoy on South-South cooperation, in an interview with Xinhua.

Also in his speech at the just concluded summit, the Chinese president brought forth a three-point proposal in line with the time-honored Bandung Spirit of solidarity, friendship and cooperation -- to boost Asia-Africa cooperation, to expand South- South cooperation, and to promote South-North cooperation.

"President Xi's statement on South-South cooperation is both timely and important as 2015 marks not only the 60th anniversary of the Bandung Conference, but also the 70th anniversary of the victory of the World Anti-Fascist War and the founding of the United Nations," said Zhou, who is also director of the UN Office for South-South Cooperation.

"At this important historic moment of transition in the world, President Xi, in his latest speech, dwelled upon the Chinese efforts to promote a new type of international relations of win- win cooperation and build 'a community of common destiny,'" Zhou said. "These strategic concepts comply with and further develop Bandung Spirit. They are also conducive to further promoting the future South-South cooperation."


In his speech, the president said China will work with relevant parties to jointly advance the "Belt and Road" initiative and the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, and make better use of the Silk Road Fund.

China, according to Xi, will provide 100,000 training opportunities for developing nations in Asia and Africa in the coming five years. In addition, a total of 2,000 Asian and African young men and women will be invited to visit China and attend a series of youth events.

Over the years, China has remained a staunch advocator and a driving force for meaningful Asian-African interaction. The Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, proposed during Xi's visit to Central Asia and Southeast Asia in September and October 2013, will promote greater cooperation.

The Belt and Road are international trade and infrastructure projects which will thread Asia, Europe and Africa together. They encompass some 63 percent of the world's population.

"In my opinion, these are specific and realistic measures, announced by the Chinese president, which are of real benefit to most of the Asian and African countries," Zhou said.

In May 2014, Zhou was appointed by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki- moon his envoy on south-south cooperation. As a veteran UN staff, he has been leading the promotion and coordination of South-South cooperation in the global South and on a United Nations system- wide basis for many years.

Against the backdrop of a weak economic recovery in the Western countries, the rise of South nations, China in particular, has made some countries very uneasy, so they accused china of " neocolonialism", Zhou noted.

China provides foreign aid to help other countries realize poverty relief, better livelihood, faster growth and stronger self- dependence, which has been a steadfast rule in the past few decades, he said. "It's extremely irresponsible and groundless to criticize China for grabbing resources and markets in Africa."

"In my view, the significant measures announced by President Xi also serves as a direct answer to the groundless accusation of the so-called 'neocolonialism'," he said.

"In reality, China's cooperation with African nations in fields of energy and resources follows global market rules," he said, adding that over the years, China and African countries further developed their friendly relations on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win cooperation.

"It is my firm belief that most of the countries will accept and endorse President Xi's statement on the new type of international ties because a great majority of the people across the world are peace-loving and they are ready to develop such a new type of relations with foreign countries by learning lessons from history."


For the United Nations, President Xi's speech is also important as it contributes positive energy to the UN's current efforts with all member states in hammering out a global sustainable development agenda, Zhou said.

"At this historic moment, President Xi, at the Jarkata summit, put forward the new concept of building 'a community of common destiny', thus painting a clear picture on how the world will achieve sustainable development in the coming years," he said.

"This is the final year for the UN efforts in leading the world to carry out the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs)," he said, referring to a set of eight anti-poverty targets to be reached by the end of 2015. "At the same time, this is also a year in which all member states, together with the United Nations, draft and eventually adopt the post-2015 development agenda."

The United Nations is leading the international efforts to come up with the post-2015 development agenda, also known as the Sustainable Development Goals, to replace the MDGs in guiding the global sustainable development for the next 15 years.

Meanwhile, all the 134 members of the Group of 77 developing countries are working hard to prepare for the Third South Summit, which is expected to be held in Equatorial Guinea early next year, he said.

The Group of 77 is the largest intergovernmental organization of developing countries in the United Nations, which provides the means for the countries of the South to articulate and promote their collective economic interests and enhance their joint negotiating capacity on all major international economic issues within the United Nations system, and promote South-South cooperation for development.


"President Xi's theory and vision about the construction of 'a community of common destiny' is also very crucial and conducive to the multilateral South-South cooperation in the future," he said.

In fact, ever since 2013, the Chinese president has mapped out the blueprint for "a community of common destiny", pledging China' s commitment with countries in Latin America and Caribbean, Arabic region, Asia and Pacific, respectively, in addition to his ideas of building the China-Brazil Community of Common Destiny and the China-Pakistan Community of Common Destiny, Zhou noted.

"I am convinced that world leaders, especially those from the134 members of the Group of 77 will endorse President Xi's proposal to expand South-South cooperation at all levels and in an all-round way," he said. "The global endorsement will, to a large extent, bring most South countries into the joint efforts to build 'a South community of common destiny, common interest and common responsibility'." 

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Huang Jin,Gao Yinan)

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