|China attaches importance to Africa's concerns, interests: FM|
WINDHOEK, Jan. 6 (Xinhua) -- China will, as always, attach importance to Africa's concerns and interests, visiting Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said here on Thursday.
"We will support African countries in their efforts to independently resolve African issues, seek balanced economic and social development and uphold their own legitimate rights and interests in international affairs through unity," Yang said.
"We will make even greater contribution to peace and development in Africa and to the common development of China and Africa."
Yang said that African countries share a stronger wish to strengthen cooperation with China, and have proposed to broaden the scope, increase the scale and upgrade the level of our cooperation. This will go a long way in boosting China-Africa cooperation.
Yang arrived here on Wednesday on a three-day visit to Namibia, the third leg of his three-nation African tour, which also took him to Cote d' Ivoire and Niger.
Earlier Yang held talks with Namibian Prime Minister Nahas Angula and Foreign Minister Utomi Nujoma respectively on ways to enhance bilateral relations and on regional and international issues.
Speaking of his three-nation African tour, Yang said that he held discussions with leaders of the three African countries and reached broad consensus on implementing the outcomes of the fourth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation ( FOCAC) and on issues concerning the fifth FOCAC Ministerial Conference to be held in China this year.
"The visit has achieved the goal of enhancing political mutual trust, promoting practical cooperation and carrying forward traditional friendship," he said.
China is now Africa's largest trading partner. Chinese investment in Africa is growing rapidly. There are a total of more than 2,000 Chinese enterprises of various types in Africa.
"African countries speak highly of the implementation of the follow-up actions to the fourth FOCAC Ministerial Conference," Yang said, adding that the joining of two new members, the AU Commission and the newly independent Republic of South Sudan, has made the FOCAC even more representative.
Moreover, China-Africa people-to-people and cultural exchanges have notably increased. China-Africa Young Leaders Forum, People' s Forum, the Think-Tank Forum and the Science and Technology Forum have been established respectively, ushering in a new phase of China-Africa people-to-people and cultural exchanges.
Yang said the African countries have always taken it as their fundamental task to pursue stability, development and solidarity, but the increased external intervention has affected peace and stability in Africa.
"African countries cherish their hard-won peace and stability, and they are focusing on growing the economy and improving people' s livelihood. They have an even stronger desire to seek strength through unity and resolve regional issues on their own."
To strengthen friendly relations and cooperation with Africa is not only in keeping with the profound traditional friendship between the two sides, but also a long-term and firm strategic choice made by China. Sincere friendship, equality and mutual benefit are the defining features of China-Africa relationship, Yang said.
"They are characteristic of the relations between developing countries, namely, mutual support and common development. Based on these principles, China-Africa relations have withstood the test of international vicissitudes and continued to forge ahead over the past 50 years and more. We will be firmly committed to these principles in the years ahead."
"Given the major changes in the international situation and international relations, to further enhance unity and cooperation between China and Africa is of strategic importance. It will not only serve the common interest of China and Africa, but also contribute to the development of developing countries as a whole and make international relations more democratic."
While African countries need to rely on themselves to achieve development, the international community should continue to offer help and support to Africa, Yang noted.
"Though the impact of the international financial crisis is still being felt, the international community, particularly Western developed countries, should not reduce help to and input in Africa. Instead, they should make greater effort to help Africa maintain sound development and create a more favorable external environment for Africa."
The profound and complex changes in the international landscape will also bring challenges to China-Africa relations, Yang noted.
China, he said, stands ready to work with African countries to remove interference from the outside and address the various problems constraining the development of China-Africa relations.
Yang outlined the following steps to strengthen Sino-Africa relations: Maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges between China and Africa; Continue to give full play to the leading role of FOCAC; Take a more active part in affairs crucial to Africa's peace and security, and further strengthen unity and cooperation with Africa in international affairs.
"We will continue to firmly support African countries in their endeavor to independently choose development paths suited to their national conditions," Yang pledged.