China, Africa to renew ties with sincere friendship, equality

By He Yin, People’s Daily

Chinese President Xi Jinping attended the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and delivered a keynote speech via video link on Monday.

He reviewed the traditional friendship between China and Africa, gave a positive appraisal of their cooperation outcomes, and summarized the spirit of the China-Africa friendship and cooperation. His speech provided a strategic plan and overarching design for China-Africa cooperation in the future and drew up a blueprint for China-Africa friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation in the new era.

This year marks the 65th anniversary of the start of diplomatic relations between China and African countries. Over the past 65 years, China and Africa have forged unbreakable fraternity in their struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and embarked on a distinct path of cooperation toward development and revitalization. Together, they have written a glorious chapter of mutual assistance amidst complex changes, and set a shining example for building a new type of international relations.

“Why do China and Africa have such a close relationship and so deep a bond of friendship? The key lies in an everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation forged between the two sides, which features sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness,” Xi said in his speech.

This truly captures the relations of China and Africa working together in good and hard times over the past decades, and provides a source of strength for the continuous growth of China-Africa friendly relations, he stressed. Inheriting and carrying forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, the two sides will inject strong impetus into the building of a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future.

The spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation is inseparable from the heads-of-state diplomacy, which has facilitated the long-term steady progress of China-Africa relations.

Africa was Xi’s first destination of foreign visits after taking office as the Chinese President in March 2013. So far, he has made four visits to the continent. During the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018, Xi had one-on-one meetings with more than 50 national leaders from Africa to renew friendship, discuss cooperation, and plan the future, building a deep bond and trust with them.

Since the outbreak of COVID-19, Xi has been encouraging China and Africa to tide over difficulties through cooperation and solidarity jointly. He and national leaders from Africa have maintained frequent high-level communication via video meetings or telephone calls. China’s assistance for Africa, including the COVID-19 vaccines, is highly appraised by African countries.

Sincere friendship and equality are distinctive features that keep China-Africa ties vital. China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future. The Chinese people have shared weal and woe and mutual assistance with African people and offered respect, appreciation, and support for Africa.

China doubly cherishes its traditional friendship with Africa, always takes the solidarity and cooperation with African countries as an essential element of China’s foreign policy, and always supports equality among all nations, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor.

China enjoys mutual support with Africa on issues involving core interests and major concerns of either or both, supports African countries’ efforts to resolve their continent’s issues in their own way, and supports African countries’ efforts to explore development paths suited to their national conditions.

In recent years, following the principle of sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith, and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, China has worked with African countries to renew the glorious chapter of high-quality China-Africa cooperation continuously.

The Chinese side has always respected the independence, sovereignty, and culture of Africa, supported the development of the continent, and upheld multilateralism on the international stage to safeguard the interests of developing countries, said Senegalese President Macky Sall.

Over the past decades, with mutual respect and empathy, China and Africa, have reaped fruits of cooperation across the African continent, defining the essence of good friends, good partners, and good brothers.

In developing relations with Africa, there are five lines that China will not cross: no interference in African countries’ choice of a development path fitting their national conditions; no interference in African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of its will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no pursuit of selfish political gains through investment and financing cooperation with Africa.

China closely combines Africa’s independent and sustainable development with its own development and rejects the zero-sum game and actions driven by a narrow pursuit of profit. The ultimate goal is to realize win-win cooperation. The country is always standing in solidarity with Africa and progressing with the latter.

“China will never forget the profound friendship of African countries and will remain guided by the principle of sincerity, real results, amity, and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. China will work together with African friends to promote and carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation from generation to generation,” Xi said in his speech.

Standing at a new historic starting point, China and Africa will keep maintaining their friendship and equality, continuously deepening their ties, enhancing mutual trust, and constantly releasing vitality for China-Africa friendship.