China attaches importance to the role of the African Union (AU), and would like to further the bilateral friendly relations, said President Hu Jintao in Beijing Monday.
Hu noted that "the two sides should strengthen consultation on regional affairs, peace-keeping operations, personnel training, and capacity building, so as to promote peace and development in Africa."
During a meeting with Chairperson of the Commission of the AU Alpha Oumar Konare, Hu said the establishment of the AU marks a new stage in the process of African integration.
Hu said the relations between China and African countries have made new progress in the new century, and the two sides have maintained frequent exchanges of visits, and political trust has increased.
He acknowledged that China is ready to enhance cooperation and friendship with Africa through a China-Africa cooperation forum to promote a new partnership.
Konare, also former Mali president, expressed gratitude for the support of China on a campaign striving for Africa's national independence, on the anti-apartheid system, and on the economic development of African countries.
He said Africa and China will be friends forever, and the two sides should further enhance friendly cooperation to deal with new changes in international and African situation. The AU will contribute to it, he added.
Konare arrived in Beijing Sunday morning for a five-day official visit to China at the invitation of the Chinese government.
Besides Beijing, Konare will travel to Xi'an, capital of northwest Shaanxi Province, and Shanghai, the country's economic hub in east China.
(Xinhua News Agency August 16, 2005)