“No matter how the international situation changes, and whatever stage of development China reaches, China will always stand together with African and other developing countries and be their sincere friend and reliable partner.”
This is the earnest promise made by President Xi Jinping when meeting with the visiting Cameroonian President Paul Biya recently. It is also an incisive summary of China’s Africa policy, and China’s solemn commitment as a major developing country.
China has not only made such a commitment, but also fulfilled it with real actions. Within half a month after the conclusion of the annual sessions of the National People’s Congress and the CPPCC National Committee, China has received successively the state visits of Cameroonian President Paul Biya, Namibian President Hage Geingob, and Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. The concentration of African heads of state to China opens the chapter of China-Africa cooperation for 2018 and sent a strong signal that China will always put Africa on the priority position of its diplomatic agenda.
The successive visits of three African heads of state in such a short time demonstrate the flourishing high-level relations, especially between the President of China and his African counterparts. Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China, President Xi Jinping has paid three visits to Africa. More than 30 Chinese leaders have visited Africa. Over 60 African heads of state or government have come to China for visits or international conferences. This is unprecedented in the history of China-Africa relations, and provides stronger political guidance for the development of China-Africa relations.
Unity and friendship are the eternal theme of China-Africa relations. The three heads of state came to China with a lofty mission of continuing friendship and expressed the sincere wish of passing on friendship from generation to generation. China cherishes its traditional friendship with African countries. Guided by the principle of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests and the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, China is committed to consolidating and strengthening solidarity and friendship with African countries.
The essence of China-Africa cooperation is to combine China’s own development with development of Africa, so as to achieve win-win cooperation and common development. At present, Africa is eager to accelerate its industrialization and economic diversification and strives to go through the “second revolution” aimed at realizing economic independence and eliminating poverty. Based on the realities and needs of African countries, China is developing practical cooperation with them. It’s our fundamental purpose to realize mutual complementarity, support Africa in translating their “development potential” into “development strength”, so that China-Africa cooperation can deliver more benefits to the two peoples.
Against the backdrop of slow recovery of the global economy, some African countries are still faced with many difficulties in their development and hope to get China’s support and assistance. As a major responsible country always honoring its commitment, China is willing to provide the support and needed help to African friends within its capability, so that they can pass through difficulties. This is the requirement of upholding justice while pursuing shared interests with other developing countries, and the essence of major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics. Facts proved that China’s development will bring more opportunities to Africa, and Africa’s development will provide more dynamism to China.
As an old saying goes, even if the tree wants to stand still, the wind will not stop. No matter how sound and fast China-Africa relations grow, there are always some untimely murmurs. Whatever actions someone tries to take to defame China-Africa relations, China has never halted its support to Africa. It is the African countries and their people who can give firm and fair answers to whether China-Africa cooperation is good or not. As H.E. President Geingob has said, China has never colonized and plundered Africa and always treated small and medium-sized African countries on an equal footing. China is Africa’s sincere partner and friend. The African people oppose unfounded accusations against China.
The year 2018 is the “Big Year” for China-Africa relations, which will be marked by a series of exchange of high-level visits and the FOCAC Beijing Summit half a year later, as a climax of China-Africa cooperation. At the Summit, Chinese and African leaders will be gathered in Beijing once again to renew their traditional friendship and plan for their future cooperation. This will become another historic event that will be recorded in the history of China-Africa relations.
*Wang Zefei is an observer on global relations.