January 19th, 2009 | Xinhua Call to boost Sino-African cooperation
Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday stressed the need for China and Africa to boost cooperation in coping with the international financial crisis.
Yang, who was wrapping up a visit to Uganda, Rwanda, Malawi and South Africa, pledged to continue providing assistance to African countries, saying China will not cut back on aid to Africa because of the financial crisis.
During his visit, China signed economic cooperation agreements with Uganda, Rwanda and Malawi and provided new aid and preferential loans to the three countries.
China will work to expand trade and mutual investment with African countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, and help promote their capabilities for achieving sustainable growth and withstanding external economic woes, Yang said.
China will also urge the international community to honor its commitments so as to create a favorable international environment for African countries to tide over their difficulties, he said.
Similarly, Yang pledged China’s support for efforts to increase African countries’ representation and give them a bigger say in pushing forward reforms of the global financial system.
Strengthening friendly relations and cooperation with Africa is an important foundation of China’s foreign policy, and remarkable development has been achieved in China-Africa ties in the past year, Yang said.
Yang said China and Africa maintained high-level exchanges and deepened their strategic mutual trust last year.
Last year, many African leaders paid official visits to China or traveled to the country to attend the Beijing Olympics and the Beijing Paralympics, he said.
African countries continued to offer their valuable support for China on issues concerning China’s core interests, he added.
Chinese leaders will continue to make the development of China-Africa ties a top priority in China’s external relations, he said.
In recent years, top Chinese leaders have paid visits to Africa every year, he said, adding that more such trips are likely to be scheduled for this year.
The fourth ministerial meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is also scheduled to take place in Egypt in the fourth quarter of this year, with the aim of making a comprehensive assessment of the implementation of the consensus reached at the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC in 2006.
China this year will continue to strive to promote unity and cooperation with Africa, with emphasis on seeking ways to deepen pragmatic cooperation between the two sides, the minister said.
China will also expand cooperation with African countries in infrastructure building, agriculture, telecommunications and human resources development, he said.
Yang said China attaches great importance to Africa’s important role in such issues as Darfur, Somali pirates and UN Security Council reforms. South Africa is the last leg of Yang’s four-nation African tour.