China-Africa friendship stressed before ministerial meeting

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, November 2, 2009
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Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi stressed the importance of China-Africa friendship ahead of the fourth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The fourth ministerial meeting of the FOCAC will be held in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheikh from Nov. 8 to 9. Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, and leaders from other African countries will attend the opening ceremony.

Yang said in an interview with Xinhua that the meeting is another important occasion to boost China-Africa friendship and cooperation since the Beijing Summit held in Beijing in 2006, and it is of great importance to the building of China-Africa relations in the new ages.

During the interview, Yang reviewed the history of the friendship between China and Africa, which can be traced back to 2,000 years ago, and its development over the past decades, especially after the founding of the People's Republic of China.

China is the biggest developing country while Africa has the largest number of developing countries. With similar historical experiences, same tasks of developing and common interests, the two sides have always been supporting each other and forged a friendship of brotherhood, Yang said.

The FOCAC, which was set up in 2000, has become an important platform for China and Africa to have collective dialogue and practical cooperation and helped advance China-Africa cooperation to broader areas and higher levels, he said.

The Beijing Summit of the FOCAC opened on Nov. 4, 2006, during which Chinese President Hu Jintao announced a package of major assistance, investment, trade and other key cooperation projects with Africa in an effort to forge a new type of strategic partnership.

Hu listed eight steps China was to take: to double its 2006 assistance to Africa by 2009, to provide 3 billion U.S. dollars of preferential loans and 2 billion dollars of preferential buyer's credits to Africa in the next three years, to establish a special fund of 5 billion dollars to encourage Chinese investment in Africa and to cancel some debts owed by the heavily indebted poor countries and the least developed countries in Africa that have diplomatic ties with China.

Yang said all these eight measures have been implemented smoothly over the past three years with close cooperation between the two sides. China's efforts to help Africa reduce poverty and improve people's life have gained broad recognition.

Yang said the world's prosperity and development will not be realized without Africa and to help Africa achieve development is the common responsibility of the international community.

He said China will continue to fulfill its due international obligation and responsibility and continue to contribute to the economic and social development of Africa.

He also expressed his hope that the international community, especial the developed countries, will fulfill their commitments and make concerted efforts to help Africa out of poverty and make contributions to the realization of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).

The upcoming fourth ministerial meeting of the FOCAC will lay out a blueprint of China-Africa cooperation for the coming three years, Yang said, adding that he believed that the meeting will open a new chapter for China-Africa friendship.

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