|FOCAC Beijing Summit Opens|
BEIJING, Nov. 5 -- The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has opened at the Great Hall of the People, with China vowing to continue its support of the African continent. The two sides will map out a new strategic partnership during their two-day Summit.
A gathering on this scale is an unprecedented event in the Chinese capital.
Chinese President Hu Jintao, 41 heads of state or government, and senior officials of 48 African countries attended.
Addressing the ceremony, the Chinese President hailed the important role China and Africa, with one third of the world's population, are playing in the pursuit of world peace and development.
He said it's time for both sides to build a new strategic partnership.
Hu said: "The forging of a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership is determined by the dynamics of China-Africa cooperation. And it represents our wish to promote global peace and development. Building strong ties between China and Africa will not only promote development of each side. It will also help cement unity and cooperation among developing countries. And it will contribute to establishing a just and equitable new international political and economic order."
Hu Jintao announced a series of concrete measures to help speed up Africa's development. These include debt relief, financial assistance, further opening of markets, tariff exemptions and personnel training.
China's proposal was echoed by Africa.
Meles Zenawi, Ethiopian Prime Minister said: "For the fast-developing Chinese economy, Africa is a reliable ... strategic partnership."
Denis Sassou-nguesso, Republic of Congo President said: "Africa highly values and appreciates the positive contribution China has made to the African continent. For the countries that have, or are, undergoing political upheavals, China's assistance in areas such as peacekeeping are greatly appreciated. We thank China for its support. We need China's experience and technology to overcome many new issues facing the development of the African continent."
At the two-day forum, leaders will discuss and issue two major documents.
A Beijing Declaration will set the tone for future relations. And an Action Plan will lay out cooperative programs between 2007 and 2009.
China and Africa regard each other as brothers rather than just friends.
BEIJING, Nov. 4 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered a speech on Saturday morning at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
The following is the full text of Hu Jintao's speech:
Your Excellency Prime Minister Meles Zenawi,
Distinguished colleagues and guests,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Our meeting today will go down in history. We, leaders of China and African countries, in a common pursuit of friendship, peace, cooperation and development, are gathered in Beijing today to renew friendship, discuss ways of growing China-Africa relations and promote unity and cooperation among developing countries. On behalf of the Chinese Government and people and in my own name, I wish to extend a very warm welcome to you and deep appreciation to you for attending the Summit. I also want to extend, through the African leaders present today, the cordial greetings and best wishes of the Chinese people to the brotherly African people.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation was jointly set up by China and Africa in October 2000, a major initiative taken to promote traditional China-Africa friendship and cooperation. In the six years since then, two ministerial conferences have been held, first in Beijing and then in Addis Ababa. Today, the Forum serves as an important platform and effective mechanism for conducting collective dialogue, exchanging experience in governance and enhancing mutual trust and cooperation in practical terms between China and African countries.
Dear colleagues and friends,
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of diplomatic ties between New China and African countries. Though vast oceans keep China and Africa far apart, the friendship between our peoples has a long history and, having been tested by times, is strong and vigorous. In the long course of history, the Chinese and African peoples, with an unyielding and tenacious spirit, created splendid and distinctive ancient civilisations. In the modern era, our peoples launched unremitting and heroic struggle against subjugation, and have written a glorious chapter in the course of pursuing freedom and liberation, upholding human dignity, and striving for economic development and national rejuvenation. The progress and development of China and Africa are a major contribution to the advancement of human civilisation.
During the past five decades, the Chinese and African peoples have forged close unity, and our friendship has flourished. China-Africa exchanges and cooperation have grown in all fields and yielded fruitful results. In international affairs, China and Africa enjoy trust and cooperate closely to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of the developing world.
In all these years, China has firmly supported Africa in winning liberation and pursuing development. China has trained technical personnel and other professionals in various fields for Africa. It has built the Tanzara Railway and other infrastructural projects and sent medical teams and peacekeepers to Africa. All this testifies to the friendship cherished by the Chinese people towards the African people. We in China will not forget Africa's full support for restoring the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations. Nor will we forget the sincere and ardent wish of African countries and people for China to realise complete and peaceful reunification and achieve the goal of building a modern nation.
Today, China-Africa friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of our two peoples, and our friendship has endured the test of time and changes in the world. This is because we have never strayed from the principle of enhancing friendship, treating each other as equals, extending mutual support and promoting common development in building our ties.
- Friendship provides a solid foundation for reinforcing China- Africa friendly ties. We both value our traditional friendship and are committed to enhancing it.
- Treating each other as equals is crucial for ensuring mutual trust. We both respect the development path independently embarked upon by the other side. We both are serious in addressing each other's concerns and are eager to benefit from each other's practice in development.
- Mutual support is the driving force behind the ever growing China-Africa cooperation. We both wish to see progress in the development endeavour of the other side and sincerely support such endeavour. And we are engaged in comprehensive cooperation.
- Common development is the shared aspiration of the Chinese and African peoples. We are committed to pursuing mutually beneficial cooperation to bring the benefits of development to our peoples.
Dear colleagues and friends,
The world today is undergoing profound and complex changes. But peace, development and cooperation remain the calling of the times. There is a growing trend towards multipolarity and economic globalization. Science and technology are making daily advance, regional cooperation is deepening and there is increasing interdependence among nations. All this has created rare development opportunities for the international community. On the other hand, imbalance in global development, widening gap between North and South, the combination of traditional and non-traditional security threats as well as increasing factors of instability and uncertainty standing in the way of peace and development all pose a daunting challenge to developing countries in their pursuit of sustainable development.
China is the largest developing country, and Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. Our combined population accounts for over a third of the world total. Without peace and development in China and Africa, there will be no global peace and development.
In this new era, China and Africa share increasing common interests and have a growing mutual need. The forging of a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership is determined by the dynamics of China-Africa cooperation, and it represents our wish to promote global peace and development. Building strong ties between China and Africa will not only promote development of each side, but also help cement unity and cooperation among developing countries and contribute to establishing a just and equitable new international political and economic order. To enhance this new type of strategic partnership, China will strengthen cooperation with Africa in the following fields:
First, deepen political relation of equality and mutual trust. We will maintain high-level contacts and mutual visits, establish a regular high-level political dialogue mechanism and conduct strategic dialogue to enhance mutual political trust and traditional friendship and achieve common progress through unity.
Second, broaden win-win economic cooperation. We will give full play to our respective strength, enhance economic and trade ties, broaden areas of cooperation, support cooperation between our business communities, upgrade cooperation in human resources development and explore new ways of cooperation so that both sides will share the benefits of development.
Third, expand exchange for cultural enrichment. We will strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges to increase mutual understanding and friendship between our two peoples and particularly between the younger generation. We will enhance exchanges and cooperation in education, science and technology, culture, public health, sports and tourism to provide intellectual motivation and cultural support for China-Africa cooperation.
Fourth, promote balanced and harmonious global development. We will enhance South-South cooperation and promote North-South dialogue. We urge developed countries to honour their promises on market access, aid and debt relief. We should strive to meet the Millennium Development Goals and steer economic globalisation in the direction of creating prosperity for all.
Fifth, strengthen cooperation and mutual support in international affairs. We are committed to upholding the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, respecting diversity of the world and promoting democracy in international relations. We call for enhancing international security cooperation based on mutual trust and benefit and addressing each other's concerns through consultation and coordination so that we can jointly respond to threats and challenges to global security.
Dear colleagues and friends,
China values its friendship with Africa. To strengthen unity and cooperation with Africa is a key principle guiding China's foreign policy. China will continue to support Africa in implementing the New Partnership for Africa's Development and in its effort to strengthen itself through unity, achieve peace and stability and economic revitalisation in the region and raise its international standing.
To forge a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership and strengthen our cooperation in more areas and at a higher level, the Chinese Government will take the following eight steps:
1. Double its 2006 assistance to Africa by 2009.
2. Provide 3 billion U.S. dollars of preferential loans and 2 billion U.S. dollars of preferential buyer's credits to Africa in the next three years.
3. Set up a China-Africa development fund which will reach 5 billion U.S. dollars to encourage Chinese companies to invest in Africa and provide support to them.
4. Build a conference centre for the African Union to support African countries in their efforts to strengthen themselves through unity and support the process of African integration.
5. Cancel debt in the form of all the interest-free government loans that matured at the end of 2005 owed by the heavily indebted poor countries and the least developed countries in Africa that have diplomatic relations with China.
6. Further open up China's market to Africa by increasing from 190 to over 440 the number of export items to China receiving zero-tariff treatment from the least developed countries in Africa having diplomatic ties with China.
7. Establish three to five trade and economic cooperation zones in Africa in the next three years.
8. Over the next three years, train 15,000 African professionals; send 100 senior agricultural experts to Africa; set up 10 special agricultural technology demonstration centres in Africa; build 30 hospitals in Africa and provide RMB 300 million of grant for providing artemisinin and building 30 malaria prevention and treatment centres to fight malaria in Africa; dispatch 300 youth volunteers to Africa; build 100 rural schools in Africa; and increase the number of Chinese government scholarships to African students from the current 2000 per year to 4000 per year by 2009.
Dear colleagues and friends,
Both China and Africa are cradles of human civilisation and lands of great promise. Common destiny and common goals have brought us together. China will remain a close friend, reliable partner and good brother of Africa.
Let's join hands and endeavour to promote development in both China and Africa, improve the well-being of our peoples and build a harmonious world of enduring peace and common prosperity!