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China-Africa ties have promising future with cooperation forum: foreign minister

BEIJING, Oct. 11 (Xinhua) -- China said Monday it believes the future of China-Africa relations is promising as the two sides celebrated the 10th anniversary of the establishment of a cooperative forum.

The China-Africa relations are bound to achieve new success in the future under the China-Africa Cooperation Forum (FOCAC), Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said in an article.

Launched in October 2000, the forum is a platform for collective consultation and dialogue.

The forum showcases the great potential of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, he said.

Over the ten years since its establishment, the forum has demonstrated vitality despite the geographical distance and political and cultural differences between China and Africa, thanks to the principle of equality and mutual benefit, Yang said.

Looking ahead, Yang said China and African countries will seek more common interests and explore new areas of growth in economic cooperation.

Chinawill also consider making the forum more open to cooperation with parties of the international community, in accordance with the wishes of African countries, Yang said.

Four ministerial conferences have been held so far under the framework of the forum.

The forum also held a summit in November 2006, during which Chinese President Hu Jintao announced a package of proposals to provide assistance to, increase Chinese investment in, and enhance trade cooperation with Africa.

Yang said the forum has made a series of important contributions to boosting China and Africa's traditional friendship and promoting mutual political trust and practical cooperation.

"Pushing forward China-Africa practical cooperation is the forum's key task," he said.

Official statistics show trade between China and African nations has increased over the past decade, rising from 10 billion U.S. dollars in 2000 to 106.8 billion dollars in 2008, according to China's Ministry of Commerce.

Regarding China's assistance to African countries, priority has been given to helping African countries improve agricultural productivity, health systems and infrastructure, said the foreign minister.

Under the FOCAC framework, China and African countries have held a series of dialogues to articulate their shared views on international issues, safeguarding the common interests of developing nations and promoting the creation of a new international political and economic order based on democracy, justice and reason, he said. 

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