How to uphold and expand common interests of china and Africa under new circumstances
Address by DG LU Shaye, the Director General of the Department of the African Affairs of the Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China, at the Second China-Africa Think Tank Forum, 12 October, 2012 Addis Ababa
Your Excellency，Mr. Demeke Mekonen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Education of the Democratic Republic of Ethiopia Your Excellency, Mr. ZHENG Jiwei, Vice Governor of Zhejiang Province Your Excellency Ambassador XIE Xiaoyan, Dear scholars, Distinguished guests, Ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to be invited to the Second China-Africa Think Tank Forum. More than two month ago, the Fifth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) was held in Beijing. Chinese President Hu Jintao and African leaders attended the opening ceremony. On behalf of the Chinese government, President Hu announced new measures to support the cause of peace and development in Africa and to boost the all-round growth of China-Africa ties, covering such as investment and financing, assistance, African integration, peace and security, and people to people exchanges. The Conference issued two outcome documents, namely the Beijing Declaration and the Beijing Action Plan (2013-2015). The success of the Conference gave a strong impetus to the development of the FOCAC towards a multi-tiered and wide-ranging mechanism. It also laid a solid foundation for the expansion of a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.
Today, after more than two months, experts and scholars from China and Africa are gathered here for the Second China-Africa Think Tank Forum. This is another important gathering of Chinese and African think tanks following the First China-Africa Think Tank Forum held in Hangzhou city, Zhejiang Province of China. It is also an important step to implement the outcome of the Fifth Ministerial Conference. The theme of the Forum "How to Uphold and Expand Common Interests of China and Africa under New Circumstances" conforms to the needs of the current international situation and China-Africa relations. On behalf of the Secretariat of the FOCAC Chinese Follow-up committee and the Department of African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry, I wish to extend warm congratulations on the Forum and sincere thanks to Addis Ababa University and Zhejiang Normal University for their preparations.
Ladies and gentlemen,
China is the largest developing country, and Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. Despite profound changes in China, Africa, China-Africa relations and the world situation over the past 50 years and more, the destinies of China and Africa have been closely linked by common historical experiences, comradeship-in-arms, development tasks and strategic interests.
Politically, we both advocate mutual respect and consultation on an equal footing, to jointly promote democracy in international relations. We respect the right of all countries to choose their social system and development path on their own. We oppose any attempt of the big, the strong and the rich to bully the small, the weak and the poor. We adhere to the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, abide by international law and generally-accepted principles governing international relations, and oppose hegemonism and power politics.
Economically, we both advocate cooperation based on mutual complementarity to advance globalization towards a balanced development, shared benefits and win-win outcomes. We work for the establishment of a multilateral trading system that is fair, equitable, reasonable and non-discriminatory so that economic globalization can benefit all countries. We work together to fulfill the UN Millennium Development Goals and enhance the development capacity of developing countries in a bid to achieve development for all in the 21st century.
Culturally, we both advocate mutual learning and approach of seeking common ground while putting aside differences, respect the diversity of the world, and promote prosperity and progress of human civilization. We strongly call for inter-civilization dialogue and exchange to do away with ideological bias and estrangement, and make human society more harmonious and the world more colorful.
In terms of security, we advocate mutual trust and closer cooperation uphold peaceful solution to disputes rather than resorting to war and jointly safeguard world peace and stability. We call for consultation and dialogue to enhance trust, reduce differences and settle disputes, and discourage the use or threat of force. We support regional countries in their efforts to solve regional issues independently.
These are the common principles and objectives that we both follow when we develop our relations. These also represent the common interests of China and Africa.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since the turn of the century, China-Africa relations have grown in great depth and breadth. The path of our friendly cooperation has become more promising and the bond of our common interests much stronger.
With strengthened political ties in all respects, China and Africa have become important forces in promoting great democracy in international relations. A new type of China-Africa strategic partnership has been established and produced notable results. China's relation with African countries, the African Union and other regional organizations have made all-round development. The growing China-Africa relations are a great boost to the development of South-South cooperation, thus exerting a profound impact on the evolving international landscape.
With closer coordination and collaboration, China and Africa have become important forces in safeguarding world peace and stability. We maintain vibrant high level contacts and frequent exchanges and dialogues at all levels. China firmly supports the right of African countries to choose their own development path and the efforts of Africa to seek strength through unity and advance integration. China has maintained close contact and coordination with Africa on major global issues.
With burgeoning practical cooperation, China and Africa have become important forces in promoting common development of the world. China and Africa have worked together to meet the challenge of the international financial crisis and fully implemented the cooperation measures put forward at the FOCAC Beijing Summit and the Fourth Ministerial Conference. China and Africa have become important trading partners. Our deepening cooperation in trade, energy and resources, infrastructure, finance and other fields has brought tangible benefits to both sides.
With increasing dynamic cultural exchange and people-to-people exchanges, China and Africa have become important forces in promoting diversity of the world civilization. A number of activities have been carried out including Chinese/African Cultures in Focus, Joint Research and Exchange Plan, Think Tank Forum, People's Forum, and Young Leaders Forum. We are increasing experience-sharing on governance and development. Each year, China trains more than 6,000 African personnel in various sectors and provides over 5,500 government scholarships to African countries.
That said, we must be aware that in the course of further development of China-African relations, problems of one kind or another are inevitable. As we work to expand and deepen our shared interests, we face more risks and challenges.
For example, despite its fast growth, our business cooperation is on the whole still at a primary stage. The scale of cooperation is expanding, but the quality is yet to be improved. Cooperation has become increasingly productive, but divergent interests and frictions occur from time to time.
China-Africa relations are been strengthened at state level, but the younger generation of both sides tend to have diverse values and don't have strong feeling for China-Africa traditional friendship. More should be done to increase their mutual understanding.
China and Africa share the same fundamental and strategic common interests in international affairs, but we may have different concerns and priorities on some specific issues, and therefore need more consultations and understanding.
In addition, there are many external distractions as we work to uphold and expand our common interests:
Some people say that China is already a developed country. They even say that China is to rule the world with another country. This is an attempt to distinguish between China and Africa in political terms. But in reality, although China has become the second largest economy in the world, a large population and low starting point remain China's basic national conditions. To strengthen cooperation and unity with African countries has been a strategic choice of the Chinese government is committed to and will remain so in the future.
Some people accuse China of practicing neo-colonialism in Africa, thus trying to put China against African countries in moral terms. But in reality, China pursues a path of peaceful development and follows the principles of mutual respect, equality, non-interference in internal affairs and mutual benefit. This is not what a colonist would do.
Some people allege that China does not support Africa's efforts of developing democracy and good governance, thus trying to pull China and Africa apart ideologically. But in reality, China firmly supports African countries in building democracy and legal systems and increases experience-sharing on governance with African countries on an equal footing. What we oppose is the attempt of some countries to interfere in other countries' internal affairs and impose their model of development on others in the name of democracy and good governance.
Some people accuse China of seeking economic benefit from Africa while care nothing about peace and security affairs of Africa, this is an attempt to sow discord between China and Africa from value and mind. But in reality, China's commitment to the principle of non-interference can by no means be interpreted as China's indifference to Africa's peace and security. As a matter of fact, China is the biggest trade partner of Africa and the largest contributor of peacekeepers to Africa among permanent members of the UN Security Council.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The world today is in an important period of major development, major transformation and major adjustment. Peace, development and cooperation remain the trend of our times. On the other hand, uncertainties and destabilizing factors in the international situation are on the increase. Various traditional and non-traditional security issues are entwined. The impact of the international financial crisis is still deepening. The global economic recovery will be a difficult process. Against this major background, it is important and all the more pressing for China and Africa to strengthen solidarity and cooperation, and promote common interests in breadth and depth.
Enhanced political mutual trust is the precondition for upholding and expanding our common interests. Over the years, China-Africa relations have stood the test of international vicissitudes. This is mainly because we have remained firmly committed to China-Africa friendship. Given the complex and volatile circumstances, China and Africa should promote friendship and cooperation more unswervingly. We should bear in mind the bigger picture and start from the point of upholding common interests of China and Africa, correctly understand and grasp the mainstream, general trend and orientation of China-Africa relations. We should not allow any particular incident at any particular time to shake our determination and confidence to advance China-Africa friendship and cooperation. We should do away with external interference and elevate our mutual trust to a higher level.
Closer exchanges and dialogue is the foundation for upholding and expanding our common interests. We should broaden and deepen exchanges and dialogue between China and Africa to enhance mutual understanding and trust in a comprehensive and in-depth manner. While promoting China-Africa practical cooperation, we should also attach importance to cultural exchanges and experience-sharing on governance. While advancing official interactions, we should also pay great attention to exchanges between our people, think tanks and media organizations. While maintaining bilateral exchanges, we should also strengthen dialogue through multilateral channels such as the UN and the BRICs mechanism.
Cooperation at a higher level is a matter of priority for upholding and expanding our common interests. We should further expand areas and explore new ways of cooperation. We should focus more on cooperation in agriculture, manufacturing, infrastructure and other priority development areas in Africa, as well as advanced cooperation in investment, finance, services and technology transfer. We should do more to improve trade structure and quality and help African countries enhance capacity for self development, so that China-Africa cooperation will benefit more of our peoples.
Being action-oriented is the key for upholding and expanding our common interests. We should actively implement the follow-up actions of the Fifth Ministerial Conference, and expand our common interests amid tangible development of China-Africa relations. We should reinforce cooperation in international affairs, seek common ground while reserving differences, take into full account each other's concerns and interests, and strengthen communication and coordination on major issues such as the Security Council reform, climate change and the WTO Doha Round negotiations to safeguard our common interests.
I am confident that with joint efforts from both sides, the common interests of China and Africa will be further expanded in breadth and depth, and China-Africa relations will embrace an even brighter future.
I wish the Forum a full success. Thank you.
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