Africa and Aboriginal Tuesdays: China And Africa Seek A Win-Win
Chinese President Hu Jintao started his visit to Morocco on April 24, and after that will go to Nigeria and Kenya. This is another important visit to Africa by a top Chinese leader. On January 12 this year, the Chinese government released China's African Policy, marking an important event in the history of Sino-African relations. In the coming November, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation as well as its 3rd Ministerial Conference will be held in Beijing, an event of unprecedented scale in history. Such a series of major diplomatic activities demonstrated the high attention China paid to Africa, and marked a new stage of China-Africa friendship and cooperation.
The New China established diplomatic relations with Egypt on May 30, 1956, opening a new chapter in the history of Sino-African friendship. In the half century that followed, the two sides have respected and supported each other in political affairs and become "all-weather friends"; rich economic achievements have also been scored based on equal treatment and common development. Among Africa's 53 countries, 47 keep diplomatic ties with China. Bilateral trade has leapt from $12 million in the 1950s to nearly $40 billion today. The two sides have been keeping close cooperation in international affairs and together safeguarding legitimate rights of developing countries. China has been speaking out of a sense of justice at international institutions including the United Nations and striving for more international attention to the issue of Africa's development. African countries, on the other hand, have been giving their firm support to China on questions concerning China's national interests such as Taiwan, Tibet and human rights.
The new generation of China's central leadership attaches great importance to developing and strengthening friendly cooperative ties with Africa, with the focus laid on continuously expanding the scope and mode of cooperation. China's newly released Africa policy paper serves both a review of half-century friendly cooperation and a guiding document expounding on the government's diplomatic policy on peace, development and cooperation in Africa in a new era. It indicates that China and African countries will further enlarge consensus, deepen cooperation, join hands to sharpen their international competitive edge, face challenges together and achieve the goal of common development.
Along with the ever-enhancing Sino-Africa friendly relations in new situations and the competitiveness of Chinese enterprises on African markets, interests of some countries were inevitably affected and, consequently, irresponsible remarks arose, trying to drive a wedge between China and African countries. However, facts speak louder than words. Over the years, it is western powers, not China, who practiced cruel colonial rule in African countries and looted their resources like mad. Until today, backbone sectors of African countries such as heavy industry and mining are still in the grasp of western transnational companies.
China and African countries share no historical feud, no conflict in fundamental interests but have cherished long-term friendship and solid, wide foundation for cooperation. Over half a century, China has launched more than 800 construction aid and cooperation programs and sent tens of thousands professionals including 15,000 medical workers across the continent. Today, Chinese aids without any political conditions can be seen in Africa almost everywhere, which are highly praised by local governments and people. China supports a leading role by the African Union (AU) in African affairs as well as the implementation of New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD). It also backs Africa's legitimate requests at multilateral occasions such as the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. Facts have shown and will continue to show that China follows the philosophy of peaceful development and cultivates relations with African courtiers based on respect for sovereignty, equality and mutual benefit, which is different in nature with colonialism.
For China and Africa, establishing and developing a new strategic partnership that features political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win and cultural exchanges would not only benefit both parties but help achieve common prosperity among developing countries so as to push forward sustained peace and harmonious progress of the world.
*Editor's Note: The Text of China's Africa's Policy, which was referred to above, may be found below.
The first few years of the new century witness a continuation of complex and profound changes in the international situation and further advance of globalization. Peace and development remain the main themes of our times. Safeguarding peace, promoting development and enhancing cooperation, which are the common desire of all peoples, represent the irresistible historical trend. On the other hand, destabilizing factors and uncertainties in the international situation are on the rise. Security issues of various kinds are interwoven. Peace remains evasive and development more pressing.
China, the largest developing country in the world, follows the path of peaceful development and pursues an independent foreign policy of peace. China stands ready to develop friendly relations and cooperation with all countries on the basis of the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence so as to contribute to peace, stability and common prosperity around the world.
The African continent, which encompasses the largest number of developing countries, is an important force for world peace and development. China-Africa traditional friendly relations face fresh opportunities under the new circumstances. With this African Policy Paper, the Chinese Government wishes to present to the world the objectives of China's policy toward Africa and the measures to achieve them, and its proposals for cooperation in various fields in the coming years, with a view of promoting the steady growth of China-Africa relations in the long term and bringing the mutually-beneficial cooperation to a new stage.
Part I: Africa's Position and Role
Africa has a long history, vast expanse of land, rich natural resources and huge potential for development. After long years of struggle, the African people freed themselves from colonial rule, wiped out apartheid, won independence and emancipation, thus making significant contribution to the progress of civilization.
Following their independence, countries in Africa have been conscientiously exploring a road to development suited to their national conditions and seeking peace, stability and development by joint efforts. Thanks to the concerted efforts of African countries and the Organization of African Unity (OAU)/the African Union (AU), the political situation in Africa has been stable on the whole, regional conflicts are being gradually resolved and economy has been growing for years. The New Partnership for Africa's Development (NEPAD) has drawn up an encouraging picture of African rejuvenation and development. African countries have actively participated in the South-South cooperation and worked for the North-South dialogue. They are playing an increasingly important role in international affairs.
Africa still faces many challenges on its road of development. However, with the persistent efforts of African countries and the continuous support of the international community, Africa will surely surmount difficulties and achieve rejuvenation in the new century.
Part II: China's Relations with Africa
China-Africa friendship is embedded in the long history of interchange. Sharing similar historical experience, China and Africa have all along sympathized with and supported each other in the struggle for national liberation and forged a profound friendship.
The founding of the People's Republic of China and the independence of African countries ushered in a new era in China-Africa relations. For over half a century, the two sides have enjoyed close political ties and frequent exchanges of high-level visits and people-to-people contacts. Bilateral trade and economic cooperation have grown rapidly; cooperation in other fields has yielded good results; and consultation and coordination in international affairs have been intensified. China has provided assistance to the best of its ability to African countries, while African countries have also rendered strong support to China on many occasions.
Sincerity, equality and mutual benefit, solidarity and common development - these are the principles guiding China-Africa exchanges and cooperation and the driving force to lasting China-Africa relations.
Part III: China's African Policy
Enhancing solidarity and cooperation with African countries has always been an important component of China's independent foreign policy of peace. China will unswervingly carry forward the tradition of China-Africa friendship. Proceeding from the fundamental interests of both the Chinese and African peoples, China will establish and develop a new type of strategic partnership with Africa which features political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchange. The general principles and objectives of China's African policy are as follows:
-- Sincerity, friendship and equality. China adheres to the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, respects African countries' independent choice of the road of development and supports African countries' efforts to grow stronger through unity.
-- Mutual benefit, reciprocity and common prosperity. China supports African countries' endeavor for economic development and nation building, carries out cooperation in various forms in the economic and social development, and promotes common prosperity of China and Africa.
-- Mutual support and close coordination. China will strengthen cooperation with Africa in the United Nations and other multilateral systems by supporting each other's just demand and reasonable propositions and continue to appeal to the international community to give more attention to questions concerning peace and development in Africa.
-- Learning from each other and seeking common development. China and Africa will learn from and draw upon each other's experience in governance and development, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in education, science, culture and health. Supporting African countries' efforts to enhance capacity building, China will work together with Africa in the exploration of the road of sustainable development.
The one-China principle is the political foundation for the establishment and development of China's relations with African countries and regional organizations. The Chinese Government appreciates the fact that the overwhelming majority of African countries abide by the one-China principle, refuse to have official relations and contacts with Taiwan and support China's great cause of reunification. China stands ready to establish and develop state-to-state relations with countries that have not yet established diplomatic ties with China on the basis of the one-China principle.
Part IV: Enhancing All-round Cooperation Between China and Africa
1. The political field
(1) High-level visits
China will maintain the momentum of mutual visits and dialogues between Chinese and African leaders, with a view of facilitating communication, deepening friendship and promoting mutual understanding and trust.
(2) Exchanges between legislative bodies
China favors increased multi-level and multi-channel friendly exchanges on the basis of mutual respect between China's National People's Congress (NPC) and parliaments of African countries and the Pan-African Parliament of the AU, for the purpose of deepening understanding and cooperation.
(3) Exchanges between political parties
The Communist Party of China (CPC) develops exchanges of various forms with friendly political parties and organizations of African countries on the basis of the principles of independence, equality, mutual respect and non-interference in each other's internal affairs. The purpose of such exchanges is to increase understanding and friendship and seek trust and cooperation.
(4) Consultation mechanisms
Mechanisms such as national bilateral committees between China and African countries, political consultation between foreign ministries, joint(mixed) committees on trade and economic cooperation and mixed committees on science and technology should be established and improved, so as to institutionalize dialogue and consultation in a flexible and pragmatic manner.
(5) Cooperation in international affairs
China will continue to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with African countries in the international arena, conduct regular exchange of views, coordinate positions on major international and regional issues and stand for mutual support on major issues concerning state sovereignty, territorial integrity, national dignity and human rights. China supports African nations' desire to be an equal partner in international affairs. China is devoted, as are African nations, to making the United Nations play a greater role, defending the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, establishing a new international political and economic order featuring justice, rationality, equality and mutual benefit, promoting more democratic international relationship and rule of law in international affairs and safeguarding the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.
(6) Exchanges between local governments
China's Central Government attaches importance to the exchanges between local governments of China and African countries, vigorously supports twin province/state and twin city relationship aimed at facilitating bilateral exchanges and cooperation in local development and administration.
2. The economic field
The Chinese Government will adopt more effective measures to facilitate African commodities' access to Chinese market and fulfill its promise to grant duty-free treatment to some goods from the least developed African countries, with a view of expanding and balancing bilateral trade and optimizing trade structure. It intends to settle trade disputes and frictions properly through bilateral or multilateral friendly consultation, mutual understanding and mutual accommodation. Efforts will be made to encourage business communities on both sides to set up China-Africa Joint Chamber of Commerce and Industry. When conditions are ripe, China is willing to negotiate Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with African countries and African regional organizations.
The Chinese Government encourages and supports Chinese enterprises' investment and business in Africa, and will continue to provide preferential loans and buyer credits to this end. The Chinese Government is ready to explore new channels and new ways for promoting investment cooperation with African countries, and will continue to formulate and improve relevant policies, provide guidance and service and offer convenience. African countries are welcome to make investment in China. The Chinese Government will continue to negotiate, conclude and implement the Agreement on Bilateral Facilitation and Protection of Investment and the Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation with African Countries. The two sides should work together to create a favorable environment for investment and cooperation and protect the legitimate rights and interests of investors from both sides.
(3) Financial cooperation
To further develop China-Africa cooperation in the area of finance, the Chinese Government will support the effort of Chinese financial institutions to increase exchanges and cooperation with their counterparts in African countries as well as regional financial institutions in Africa.
(4) Agricultural cooperation
China intends to further promote its agricultural cooperation and exchanges with African nations at various levels, through multiple channels and in various forms. Focus will be laid on the cooperation in land development, agricultural plantation, breeding technologies, food security, agricultural machinery and the processing of agricultural and side-line products. China will intensify cooperation in agricultural technology, organize training courses of practical agricultural technologies, carry out experimental and demonstrative agricultural technology projects in Africa and speed up the formulation of China-Africa Agricultural Cooperation Program.
The Chinese Government will step up China-Africa cooperation in transportation, telecommunications, water conservancy, electricity and other types of infrastructure. It will vigorously encourage Chinese enterprises to participate in the building of infrastructure in African countries, scale up their contracts, and gradually establish multilateral and bilateral mechanisms on contractual projects. Efforts will be made to strengthen technology and management cooperation, focusing on the capacity-building of African nations.
(6) Resources cooperation
The Chinese Government facilitates information sharing and cooperation with Africa in resources areas. It encourages and supports competent Chinese enterprises to cooperate with African nations in various ways on the basis of the principle of mutual benefit and common development, to develop and exploit rationally their resources, with a view of helping African countries to translate their advantages in resources to competitive strength, and realize sustainable development in their own countries and the continent as a whole.
(7) Tourism cooperation
China will implement the program of Chinese citizens' group tour to some African nations and, grant more African countries, as they wish and as far as feasible, Approved Destination Status for out-bound Chinese tourist groups. China welcomes citizens from African nations for a tour of the country.
(8) Debt reduction and relief
China is ready to continue friendly consultation with some African countries to seek solution to, or reduction of, the debts they owe to China. It will urge the international community, developed countries in particular, to take more substantial action on the issue of debt reduction and relief for African nations.
(9) Economic assistance
In light of its own financial capacity and economic situation, China will do its best to provide and gradually increase assistance to African nations with no political strings attached.
(10) Multilateral cooperation
China is ready to enhance consultation and coordination with Africa within multilateral trade systems and financial institutions and work together to urge the United Nations and other international organizations to pay more attention to the question of economic development, promote South-South cooperation, push forward the establishment of a just and rational multilateral trade system and make the voices of developing countries heard in the decision-making of international financial affairs. It will step up cooperation with other countries and international organizations to support the development of Africa and help realize Millennium Development Goals in Africa.
3. Education, science, culture, health and social aspects
(1) Cooperation in human resources development and education
The Chinese Government will give full play to the role of its "African Human Resources Development Foundation" in training African personnel. It will identify priority areas, expand areas of cooperation and provide more input according to the needs of African countries so as to achieve greater results.
Exchange of students between China and Africa will continue. China will increase the number of government scholarships as it sees fit, continue to send teachers to help African countries in Chinese language teaching and carry out educational assistance project to help develop Africa's weak disciplines. It intends to strengthen cooperation in such fields as vocational education and distance learning while encouraging exchanges and cooperation between educational and academic institutions of both sides.
(2) Science and technology cooperation
Following the principles of mutual respect, complementarity and sharing benefits, China will promote its cooperation with Africa in the fields of applied research, technological development and transfer, speed up scientific and technological cooperation in the fields of common interest, such as bio-agriculture, solar energy utilization, geological survey, mining and the R&D of new medicines. It will continue its training programs in applied technologies for African countries, carry out demonstration programs of technical assistance, and actively help disseminate and utilize Chinese scientific and technological achievements and advanced technologies applicable in Africa.
(3) Cultural exchanges
China will implement agreements of cultural cooperation and relevant implementation plans reached with African countries, maintain regular contacts with their cultural departments and increase exchanges of artists and athletes. It will guide and promote cultural exchanges in diverse forms between people's organizations and institutions in line with bilateral cultural exchange programs and market demand.
(4) Medical and health cooperation
China is ready to enhance medical personnel and information exchanges with Africa. It will continue to send medical teams and provide medicines and medical materials to African countries, and help them establish and improve medical facilities and train medical personnel. China will increase its exchanges and cooperation with African countries in the prevention and treatment of infectious diseases including HIV/AIDS and malaria and other diseases, research and application of traditional medicine and experience concerning mechanism for public health emergencies.
(5) Media cooperation
China wishes to encourage multi-tiered and multi-formed exchanges and cooperation between the media on both sides, so as to enhance mutual understanding and enable objective and balanced media coverage of each other. It will facilitate the communication and contacts between relevant government departments for the purpose of sharing experiences on ways to handle the relations with media both domestic and foreign, and guiding and facilitating media exchanges.
(6) Administrative cooperation
China will carry out exchanges and cooperation with African countries in civil service system building, public administration reform and training of government personnel. The two sides may study the feasibility of setting up a mechanism for personnel and administrative cooperation.
(7) Consular cooperation
China will hold regular/irregular consular consultations with African countries during which the two sides may have amicable discussions on urgent problems or questions of common interest in bilateral or multilateral consular relations in order to improve understanding and expand cooperation. The Chinese side will work with Africa to facilitate personnel flow and ensure the safety of their nationals.
(8) People-to-people exchanges
China will encourage and facilitate the exchanges between people's organizations of China and Africa, especially the youth and women, with a view of increasing the understanding, trust and cooperation of people on both sides. It will encourage and guide Chinese volunteers to serve in African countries.
(9) Environmental cooperation
China will actively promote China-Africa cooperation in climate change, water resources conservation, anti-desertification, bio-diversity and other areas of environmental protection by facilitating technological exchanges.
(10) Disaster reduction, relief and humanitarian assistance
China will actively carry out personnel exchange, training and technological cooperation in the fields of disaster reduction and relief. It will respond quickly to African countries' request for urgent humanitarian aid, encourage and support exchanges and cooperation between the Red Cross Society of China and other NGOs on the one side and their African counterparts on the other side.
4. Peace and security
(1) Military cooperation
China will promote high-level military exchanges between the two sides and actively carry out military-related technological exchanges and cooperation. It will continue to help train African military personnel and support defense and army building of African countries for their own security.
(2) Conflict settlement and peacekeeping operations
China supports the positive efforts by the AU and other African regional organizations and African countries concerned to settle regional conflicts and will provide assistance within our own capacity. It will urge the UN Security Council to pay attention to and help resolve regional conflicts in Africa. It will continue its support to and participation in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa.
(3) Judicial and police cooperation
China is prepared to promote the exchanges and cooperation between Chinese and African judicial and law enforcement departments. The two sides may learn from each other in legal system building and judicial reform so as to be better able to prevent, investigate and crack down on crimes. China will work together with African countries to combat transnational organized crimes and corruption, and intensify cooperation on matters concerning judicial assistance, extradition and repatriation of criminal suspects.
China will cooperate closely with immigration departments of African countries in tackling the problem of illegal migration, improve exchange of immigration control information and set up an unimpeded and efficient channel for intelligence and information exchange.
(4) Non-traditional security areas
In order to enhance the ability of both sides to address non-traditional security threats, it is necessary to increase intelligence exchange, explore more effective ways and means for closer cooperation in combating terrorism, small arms smuggling, drug trafficking, transnational economic crimes, etc.
Part V: Forum on China-Africa Cooperation And Its Follow-up Actions
Launched in 2000, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation has become an effective mechanism for the collective dialogue and multilateral cooperation between China and Africa and put in place an important framework and platform for a new type of China-Africa partnership featuring long-term stability, equality and mutual benefit.
China attaches importance to the positive role of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in strengthening political consultation and pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa, and stands ready to work with African countries to conscientiously implement the Beijing Declaration of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the Program for China-Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation-Addis Ababa Action Plan (2004-2006) and its follow-up action plans. China will work with African countries within the framework of the Forum to explore new ways to enhance mutual political trust, promote the comprehensive development of pragmatic cooperation, further improve the mechanism of the forum, and try to find the best way for furthering cooperation between the Forum and the NEPAD.
Part VI: China's Relations with African Regional Organizations
China appreciates the significant role of the AU in safeguarding peace and stability in the region and promoting African solidarity and development. China values its friendly cooperation with the AU in all fields, supports its positive role in regional and international affairs and stands ready to provide the AU assistance to the best of its capacity.
China appreciates and supports the positive role of Africa's sub-regional organizations in promoting political stability, economic development and integration in their own regions and stands ready to enhance its amicable cooperation with those organizations.
This article was published in China's People's Daily
People's Daily Online
Tuesday, April 25, 2006