China and Africa have a past linked by a long and deep friendship, which has stood the test of time and many changes of international affairs. Most African countries today uphold the one-China policy, and 46 of 53 African countries have established diplomatic relations with China.
To enhance friendship and cooperation with African and other developing countries is a key element of China's foreign policy. Since the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, the succession of Chinese leaders have all attached much importance to the relations between China and Africa, and have worked out a series of principles and policies for the development of Sino-African relations.
While visiting the African continent in 1996, then Chinese President Jiang Zemin put forward a five-point proposal on establishing a long-term, stable Sino-African relationship of stability and cooperation that is geared to the 21st century. The five points include sincere friendship, treating each other equally, unity and cooperation, common development and looking into the future. The proposal has become the foundation of China's policy toward Africa. The new Chinese leadership, carrying forward the cause of the old leadership and forging ahead into the future, adheres to China's policy toward Africa, and pays attention to strengthening unity and cooperation between the two.
In June 2003. Chinese President Hu Jintao stressed that the Chinese Government will endeavor to shape a new Sino-African partnership based on long-term stability, equality and mutual benefit.
China's Africa policy can be summed up in the following six points:
1. China adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, respects African countries' choice in political system and development path suited to their own national conditions, does not interfere in internal affairs of African countries, and supports them in their just struggles for safeguarding their independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, and their efforts in maintaining their countries' stability, unity, and in promoting the development of society and the economy.
2. China supports unity, cooperation and union among African countries along with their self-improvement. It also advocates African countries' efforts to preclude external interference to solve their disputes in a peaceful way and through consultation. China appreciates the African Union and other sub-regional organizations to carry out the New Partnership for Africa's Development program in a view to seeking peace, stability and development, thus realizing the integrity of politics, economy and security.
3. China strives to strengthen and develop a long-term; stable political relationship with Africa featured by friendship, mutual trust and cooperation in an all-round way. China wishes to enhance the mutual visits between the leaders of the two sides as well as the exchanges of various circles so as to increase mutual understanding, expand common grounds, strengthen friendship and promote cooperation.
4. China will, as best it can, continue to offer African countries economic assistance with no political conditions attached and take positive measures to increase economic benefit of the China-aid projects in Africa. In the meantime, China will, taking China-Africa Cooperation Forum as a platform, engage in various forms of economic and trade cooperation, focusing on the areas of agriculture, infrastructure building and human resources development. China will also encourage cooperation between the two sides, tap cooperative potentials and increase cooperative efficiency.
5.China calls for the international community, especially developed countries, to pay attention to the issue of African peace and development, listen to the appeal of African countries, offer them assistance, put more investment into these countries, reduce their debts and further open their markets to African countries, with an eye to helping solve real problems for Africa, narrowing the gap between Africa and other regions of the world, and helping Africa step on the road of sustainable development.
6. China supports Africa to participate in and play a bigger role in international affairs. It will. as always, stand on the side of African countries, strengthen consultation and cooperation with African countries in the participation of international affairs, strive for safeguarding the legal rights and interests of developing countries, and promote the establishment of a democratic international relationship and a just and reasonable international political and economic order.
The current world situation has created both opportunities and challenges. Developing countries should strengthen unity and cooperation, seek advantages, avoid disadvantages and bravely face the challenges. This is the choice of developing countries to seek development.
African countries have pooled their efforts to promote the building of an African Union. This displays that developing countries are positive elements in safeguarding world peace and in advancing human progress, that developing countries can improve their unfavorable positions only by their own capability, and that developing countries should intensify unity and cooperation.
China carries out a consistent policy toward Africa. Sino-African friendship conforms to the fundamental interests of Chinese and African people. Sino-African cooperation has bright prospects. In the new century, China will explore new approaches in Sino-African political and economic cooperation, thus taking Sino-African relations to an even higher level.
(China.org.cn December 10, 2003)