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Wen: China Set to Forge Strategic Partnership with Africa
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Visiting Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Cape Town on Thursday that China is committed to building a new type of strategic partnership with Africa under the principle of sincerity, friendship, equality, mutual benefit and common development.


The Chinese premier made the statement at the China-South Africa Business Cooperation Forum organized by the two governments in Cape Town.


Addressing more than 800 business people from China and South Africa, the Chinese premier pledged to enhance political equality and mutual trust, promote win-win economic cooperation, enhance people-to-people and cultural exchanges and maintain close cooperation in international affairs.


Nevertheless, Wen said, "We respect the social system and development strategy pursued by African countries in light of their particular national conditions. We do not seek to export our own values and development models to Africa."


"We will continue to speak out for the interests of Africa at international forums and support African countries in their efforts to safeguard sovereignty and independence and promote regional peace and stability," he said.


Speaking about economic cooperation, he said, China will endeavor to expand economic and trade ties with Africa.


"We will carry out steps designed to assist African countries and other developing countries, such as offering zero-tariff treatment to some of their exports, increasing aid and debt relief," he added.


Wen said that the Chinese government encourages more Chinese companies to invest in Africa, participate in infrastructure building and agricultural development, transfer technologies and help Africa fully release the strength of its resources, enhance its competitiveness and strengthen its economy.


"We will expand trade with Africa and increase import from Africa," he said.


In people-to-people and cultural exchange, he said, China will provide more scholarships for African students to study in China and build more schools in African countries. China will also send more medical teams to Africa, provide anti-malaria medicines, set up malaria prevention and treatment centers in Africa and carry out cooperation in HIV-AIDS prevention and control with Africa.


Speaking about cooperation in international affairs, the Chinese premier said, China will continue to strengthen coordination and cooperation with Africa in international affairs, strive to foster a new type of Asia-Africa strategic partnership and work with African countries to promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogue.


As a permanent member of the UN Security Council, the premier said, China holds that Africa's legitimate demands deserve due respect., adding: "It opposes the practices of strong bullying the weak and of imposing double standards in international affairs."


"We call on the international community to focus its attention on Africa, give more support to Africa and create conditions for Africa to achieve the Millennium Development Goals," he added.


(Xinhua News Agency June 23, 2006)

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