The African countries President Hu Jintao visited over 12 days showcase a wide-ranging picture of the continent from big to small, rich to poor, and strong to weak. Hu wrapped up his historic Africa tour and was back in Beijing Sunday.
The continent is high on the agenda of China diplomacy. Since 1991, Chinese foreign ministers have visited African countries every year. With the latest visit to eight African nations, Hu has not only kept up the country's diplomatic ties but taken a major step forward in elevating bilateral relations.
Inaugurating the Zambia-China economic and trade cooperative zone in Lusaka, Zambia, China's first in Africa, is one of the tangible outcomes. The Chinese government plans to set up three to five more such areas in Africa over the next three years.
Ongoing cooperation based on friendship, mutual benefit and shared development will bring substantial gains to Africans.
Half of Hu's trip was devoted to southern Africa, with state visits to Mozambique, Zambia, Namibia, South Africa and Seychelles. This is an expanded focus for Hu, since his previous visits were primarily in the northern and western regions of Africa. His visits to the central and southern parts of the continent have brought China and Africa closer, offering both sides the chance to know each other better.
Hu told his African hosts that China would work with them, with regional organizations and with the United Nations to help bring peace to Sudan's Darfur region.
China hopes that the Darfur region will move toward peace and stability based on the Sudanese parties' working to implement the agreement reached by the African Union and the United Nations.
Developing cooperation with African countries with no political strings attached, China is ready to share its experience in development. At the same time, Hu stressed that China has learned from Africa and mutual economic gains have been made. It is a win-win situation, in contrast to earlier colonial exploitation of the continent. Judging from the latest African visit, cooperation between China and Africa is forging ahead with pragmatism built on mutual understanding.
(China Daily February 12, 2007)