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Forum to Boost Sino-African Ties
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Chinese and African officials and experts agreed September 19 that economic globalization is making it essential for the two sides to further enhance their co-operation.

Attending an international seminar on Sino-African relations, they also pinned big hopes on the soon-to-be opened Sino-African Forum, saying the forum will have a profound impact on bilateral relations.

The forum, the first of its kind, is scheduled to open in Beijing next month and will be attended by foreign ministers and foreign trade ministers from China and African countries.

"Present Sino-African relations are better than ever," Liu Guijin, director of the foreign ministry's African Department, told the seminar, which was organized by the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS) and the Development Research Centre under the State Council.

"Sino-African relations are full of promise," said Eleih-Elle Etian, ambassador of Cameroon to China and dean of the African Diplomatic Corp in Beijing. "I am optimistic about the situation."

China and African countries must co-ordinate their efforts to strengthen their positions in the international community, in which the weak are prey to the strong, said Zhang Hongming, a CASS research fellow.

"It should be recognized that it is impossible for China or African countries to resist hegemonism and power politics or make the international community treat them with greater respect single-handedly," he said.

Economic co-operation has become more and more important to both sides, according to Mohamed Noman Galal, ambassador of Egypt to China.

Africa is known to be rich in natural resources, and it aspires to have more economic and trade ties with China, he said.

According to statistics from the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Economic Co-operation, Sino-African trade increased five times in the 1990s to reach US$6.48 billion in 1999.

However, the trade volume last year accounted only for a mere 1.8 per cent of China's total foreign trade.

(China Daily 09/20/2000)

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