21 July 2012

Africa: Take China-Africa Strategic Partnership to a New Level

The fifth ministerial conference of the forum on China-Africa cooperation (FOCAC) is being held in Beijing today and tomorrow. It is yet another major event in the friendly relations and cooperation between China and Africa.

Since its inception in 2000, FOCAC has grown into the premier mechanism for collective dialogue and practical cooperation between China and Africa in the new era. It has enabled China-Africa cooperation to expand in scale and scope.

In particular, the Beijing Summit and third Ministerial Conference of FOCAC in 2006 marked a milestone in China-Africa relations, as it launched a new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchanges and mutual learning.

The today's ministerial conference, under the theme of "build on past achievements and open up new prospects for the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership", will take full stock of the implementation of the outcomes of the fourth Ministerial Conference held in Egypt in 2009 and draw the blueprint for China-Africa relations in the coming three years.

The last three years have seen fast growth of China-Africa relations, with rich results in many areas. The two sides have enhanced political mutual trust and enjoyed fruitful practical cooperation.

The two sides have conducted dynamic people-to-people exchanges and carried out closer cooperation in international affairs. All these are proof that the establishment and growth of the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership is conducive to bringing out the complementary strengths of China and Africa so that we can achieve common prosperity and progress.

China will remain firmly committed to China-Africa friendship and remain firmly committed to deepening practical cooperation with Africa. We will seize the opportunities presented by the accelerated development of China and Africa to expand the scope, innovate the ways and enhance the quality of our cooperation.

We will bear in mind both current and long-term needs and lay greater emphasis on helping Africa build development capacity when providing assistance.

We will advance China-Africa cooperation in a way that contributes to Africa's self-generated and sustainable development and brings about greater benefits to both sides.

China will remain firmly committed to enhancing people-to-people and cultural exchanges with Africa. Such exchanges will have a more important place in China-Africa relations. We will establish more exchange platforms and flagship programs. We will have more direct exchanges between Chinese and African cultural entities, media organizations, NGOs, and think tanks, thus nurturing a favorable public opinion environment and social foundation for sound and stable China-Africa relations.

China will remain firmly committed to making FOCAC a continued success. In the spirit of innovation and keeping pace with the changing times, we will improve FOCAC institutions, enrich its substance and create more highlights. We will adopt cooperation proposals that meet the call of our time and the need of the two sides, so that FOCAC will continue to be the standard-bearer for China-Africa relations, an effective platform for strengthening our dialogue and communication and an important engine driving practical cooperation between China and Africa.

"Good friends value the promise they make, even if it means traveling a thousand miles to meet." Convened once every three years, the FOCAC Ministerial Conference is a promise between China and Africa. It is friendship that will bring our African friends to Beijing, to join their Chinese brothers and sisters. Now, the stage is set for the fifth Ministerial Conference, and expectation is high on both sides.

I believe that, with our joint efforts, the Conference will be a great success, one that will take the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership to a new level.

The writer is the Chinese minister of foreign affairs and the honorary co-chair of ChinesQe follow-up committee

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