Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao met separately with 13 African leaders during his formal visit to Ethiopia from Dec. 15 to 16, where they attended the opening ceremony of the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum in Addis Ababa.
Premier Wen thanked the African leaders for taking part in the conference, which, he said, is a proof of the importance attached to the forum as a collective dialog mechanism by African friends and an indication of the Sino-African traditional friendship.
He said the Chinese government attaches importance to the development of the friendly and cooperative ties with African countries and is willing to work together with African countries for the advancement of bilateral relations and South-South cooperation.
As China and Africa share the same stance on many major international issues, Wen said the two sides should further strengthen their consultation and coordination so that together they could make greater contribution to world peace.
Wen also briefed African leaders on China's stance on the Taiwan issue, as the Taiwan authority is speeding up its separatist activities through the so called "defensive referendum."
The leaders also exchanged their views of points on major economic and trade cooperation projects and issues of mutual interests.
Denis Sassou-Nguesso, president of the Republic of the Congo, said relations between China and Congo have seen a smooth development over the last 40 years since the two countries established diplomatic relations, in defiance of changes in international relations and domestic politics of both countries.
The successful cooperation of the two countries in the past decades has laid a solid foundation for the two countries to further strengthen bilateral relations, he said.
Mozambican President Joaquim Chissano said his country supports China's great cause of reunification.
Noting that Chinese enterprises are already taking part in railway, hospital, housing and other projects in Mozambique, Chissano said he hopes more Chinese businesses will come to invest in agriculture and other sectors of the Mozambique economy.
South African Vice President Jacob Zuma said China-Africa Cooperation Forum is an important part of South-South cooperation that will not only benefit the people of China and Africa, but also help developing countries to better protect their own interests in world affairs.
He said South Africa has been firmly following the policy of "One China" since the two countries established diplomatic relations.
Zuma expressed the hope that the two countries would strengthen their cooperation and coordination in international affairs so as to better reflect the stance of developing countries on major world issues.
Sudanese President Omer Hassan Ahmed Al-Bashir expressed his satisfaction over the development of bilateral cooperation, saying that China has already become the biggest trade partner of the Sudan as in 2003.
He said the Sudan has already realized national reconciliation which will provide a guarantee for national economic construction. He said Chinese businesses are welcome to invest in the Sudan.
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni expressed his appreciation of the achievements made by the two countries in economic cooperation and said Uganda welcomes more Chinese firms to invest in his country.
He also expressed the hope that China and Africa should enhance their coordination and cooperation within the framework of the World Trade Organization in the context of globalization.
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said his people will never forget China's support and assistance over the years and that Zimbabwe fully supports the Chinese government's stance on the Taiwan issue.
Abdelkader Ben Saleh, speaker of Algeria's National Council, said the Second Ministerial Conference of the China-Africa Cooperation Forum is very successful and will inject new vigor into Sino-African cooperation.
As the two countries will celebrate the establishment of 45-year diplomatic relations in ten days, he said Algeria is fully confident of the bright prospect for Sino-Algerian friendship and cooperation.
Comoro President Azali Assoumani expressed the wish that China and African countries will together implement the proposals made by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the forum.
He pledged that his government will offer the most attractive policy for Chinese enterprises investing in Comoros.
Tanzanian Prime Minister Frederick Sumaye said the forum represents a major step taken by China and African countries in advancing their cooperation and will eventually achieve win-win results.
He noted that Sino-Tanzanian cooperation has extended from railway and agriculture to many other fields and said Chinese investors will receive the warmest welcome in his country.
Sierra Leonean Vice President Solomon Berewa said his country welcomes Chinese investors to take part in its economic construction, as the western African nation has just emerged from a civil war and there is a lot to be done in urban and infrastructure construction and the development of its abundant and fertile land resources.
Guinea Bissau's Prime Minister Artur Sanha said the mechanism of the China-Africa forum will help establish a more stable relationship between China and African countries.
He also thanked China's selfless support to his country both before and after its independence.
Burundi Vice President Alphonse-Marie Kadege thanked China's consistent support and assistance to his country and said his government will stick to the "One China" policy and is determined to maintain and develop its friendly ties with China.
Chairperson of African Union Commission Alpha Omar Konare congratulated Premier Wen for the success of his first visit to Africa and that of the China-Africa forum.
He said the African Union Commission will firmly observe the one-China policy and strongly believes that enhanced friendship and cooperation between China and Africa is in the fundamental interests of the Chinese and African peoples.
(Xinhua News Agency December 17, 2003)