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Chinese FM’s new year visit bolsters ties between China and developing countries

For a Chinese Foreign Minister, visiting Africa at the start of a year has always been a tradi­tion over the years.

By carrying forth that tradition, Qin Gang, China’s new Foreign Minister, embarked on a trip to five African countries as well as the African Union (AU) Headquarters and the League of Arab States Headquarters upon invitation.

The visit has demonstrated Chi­na’s sincere, effective and pragmatic cooperation with Africa, as well as its consistent and unselfish friend­ship with the developing continent, showcasing China’s commitment to the broader developing world, in­cluding Arab states, on development.

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The trip marks the 33rd consec­utive year in which Africa has been the destination of Chinese Foreign Ministers’ annual first overseas visits.

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During the trip, Qin met and held talks with leaders and his coun­terparts of the five African nations — Ethiopia, Gabon, Angola, Benin and Egypt — and other high-level of­ficials, exchanging views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest.

The eight-day visit on Jan. 9-16 coincided with the 10th year of the China-proposed principles of sincer­ity, real results, amity and good faith, and of pursuing greater good and shared interests in China’s relations with Africa. Over the past decade, China-Africa relations have made historic achievements that have impressed the world, and entered a new era of building a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.

During the visit, China put for­ward four proposals on the devel­opment of China-Africa relations, including promoting China-Africa exchanges so as to achieve broader consensus in various fields, deep­ening the friendly relations between China and the AU, upgrading China-Africa cooperation, and safe­guarding solidarity and cooperation among developing countries.

Based on the principle of sin­cerity, real results, affinity and good faith, China will also support South Africa in its BRICS presidency and Uganda in hosting a Non-Aligned Movement summit this year.

Additionally, China will continue to support the AU in leading Af­rican countries on a development path suited to their national condi­tions. China has taken the lead in supporting the AU’s membership in the Group of 20 (G20).

China also seeks to accelerate the implementation of cooperation initiatives under the Forum on Chi­na-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), expand trade with Africa, and nur­ture new drivers of growth in areas such as health, green develop­ment, and digital economy.

Furthermore, China vowed to speed up the imple­mentation of the eight major cooperation initiatives pro­posed at the first China-Arab States Summit, including development support, food security, public health, green innovation, energy security, inter-civilizational dialogue, youth development, and secu­rity and stability, calling on the two sides to strengthen the building of mechanisms under the framework of the China-Arab States Coop­eration Forum in order to elevate bilateral cooperation.

China-Africa cooperation, fueled by the two engines of FOCAC and the Belt and Road Initiative, has pro­duced tangible results over the years, showing the effectiveness of China’s effort to seek common development with the developing countries. Earlier this month, the China-aided Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters project was completed, becoming another symbol of bilateral friendship. The year 2023 also marks the 60th year of China’s medical assistance for Africa. All these, among others, have clearly shown that China has walked the talk.

Meanwhile, Qin’s visit boosted solidarity and confidence among nations to build a better world in the face of multiple challenges such as the pandemic and climate change by following the principles of mutual respect, equality and true multilateralism.

While conducting cooperation with Africa and other developing countries, China always respects their will, considers their needs, never seeks political interests and attaches no political strings, insisting that no country or person has the right to force developing countries to pick sides, and be­lieving that the developing world, including Africa and Arab states, should be a stage for internation­al cooperation, not an arena for major-power rivalry.

Qin’s visit has once again proved that those intentions to smear Chi­na’s cooperation with Africa and other developing countries over the years through misinformation and disinformation are futile. It is believed that China-Africa relations and the effort to build a communi­ty with a shared future will enjoy a bright future.

BY ZHU SHAOBIN

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