Friday, 05 April 2013 12:01

Newsletter 29

In this newsletter:

  • Africa: China's New President Concludes First Foreign Visit With Fruitful Results
  • China's Africa role gets ringing endorsement
  • 600 year old coin proves China, Africa trade links
  • Beijing and Paris should intensify African cooperation

Africa: China's New President Concludes First Foreign Visit With Fruitful Results

Brazzaville — Chinese President Xi Jinping on Saturday left Brazzaville, capital of the Republic of the Congo, for Beijing, concluding his first foreign visit after taking office with fruitful results.

The Republic of the Congo is the last leg of Xi's four-nation tour from March 22 to 30, which also included Russia, Tanzania and South Africa. He attended the fifth BRICS summit in Durban, South Africa.

Xi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin held talks in Moscow on March 22, exchanging in-depth views on China-Russia relations and major global and regional issues, and reaching important consensus on enhancing the comprehensive strategic cooperation between their countries.

Xi stressed that China and Russia are each other's major and most important strategic cooperative partner, and both accord priority to deepening their comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership on their overall diplomatic agenda and in their foreign policy.

The presidents of the two countries signed a joint statement on deepening the bilateral comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, which has laid out the priorities of future bilateral cooperation and called for a new type of great-power relations in the international arena.

Both sides also signed documents on economic and trade cooperation and cooperation in such fields as energy, investment, environmental protection, cultural and people-to-people exchanges, as well as cooperation at local levels.

The two leaders also attended the inauguration ceremony of the Year of Chinese Tourism.

Xi delivered an important speech at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations, expounding on China's view on the current international situation and its position on international relations and on developing China-Russia relations.

Xi's visit to Russia injected fresh impetus into the sustained, healthy and stable growth of China-Russia comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

Xi held talks with Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete on March 24 in Dar es Salaam, and both sides agreed to carry on their traditional friendship, construct a comprehensive cooperative partnership based on mutual benefit and win-win results, and lift bilateral relations to a higher level.

Xi witnessed the signing of a number of bilateral agreements on economic, trade and cultural cooperation.

Xi delivered an important speech in Dar es Salaam on March 25, dwelling on China-Africa relations and China's Africa policy. In his speech at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center in Tanzania's economic capital, Xi said China and Africa will always be trustworthy friends and sincere partners.

"Let me assure you that China will intensify, not weaken, its efforts to expand relations with Africa," he said.

During the talks between Xi and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma on March 26, the two presidents pledged to make the bilateral relationship a strategic focus and priority in their respective foreign policies.

They also agreed to push the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level, through broader and deeper cooperation in politics, economy and trade, people-to-people and cultural exchanges as well as in coordination and communication in regional and international affairs.

In the South African port city of Durban, Xi attended the fifth BRICS summit held between March 26-27 and under the theme of "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization."

Speaking at the summit, the Chinese president said that to enhance cooperation with other BRICS countries has always been a priority on China's diplomatic agenda.

China will continue to strengthen cooperation with other BRICS countries, in order to make the economic growth of BRICS countries more robust and their cooperation better structured and more productive, he said.

"This will bring tangible benefits to people of all countries and make greater contributions to world peace and development," Xi said.

Xi also attended the first BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum, which was centered on the cooperation between BRICS and African countries in infrastructure.

Addressing the forum, Xi said the dialogue between leaders of BRICS and African countries reflected the political will of both sides to realize equality and inclusiveness, and seek common development.

On March 28, the Chinese president had a breakfast meeting with a group of African leaders. They exchanged views on the further development of China-Africa ties.

During his visit to the Republic of the Congo on March 29-30, the first by a Chinese head of state since China and the African nation established diplomatic ties in 1964, Xi and his Congolese counterpart Denis Sassou Nguesso agreed to make joint efforts in building and developing a comprehensive cooperative partnership of solidarity and mutual assistance between the two nations.

Xi told Sassou Nguesso during their meeting that he received a warm welcome from the Congolese government and people upon his arrival in the country, which reflected the deep traditional friendship between the two nations.

On the occasion of the upcoming 50th anniversary of the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties next year, Xi expressed the hope that the two sides will make joint efforts and deepen their friendship and mutual trust, so as to lift the bilateral comprehensive cooperative partnership of solidarity and mutual assistance to a new level and make a new stride forward.

- Xinhua


China's Africa role gets ringing endorsement

African leaders rebuff Western claims, laud BEijing for fostering economic growth in the continent

African leaders have strongly rebuffed Western claims that China was colonizing Africa, and instead reiterated that the Asian nation was playing a key, important role in the sustainable and prosperous development of the continent.

In what is seen by many observers as an African vote of confidence in the new Chinese leadership, leaders from 13 African nations voiced the collective opinion that China-Africa ties were poised for even more growth under President Xi Jinping.

South African President Jacob Zuma, who was instrumental in getting the African leaders together for a conclave at Durban, said China-Africa ties are a two-way relationship that has proved beneficial for both sides.

"There is no doubt that China will continue to play a pivotal role in the building of a more prosperous Africa," said Zuma.

The South African president said that it was not correct on the part of Western nations to say that China was colonizing Africa through its mining and mineral projects. These projects are instead ideal examples of mutually beneficial cooperation, Zuma said.

Idriss Deby, the president of Chad, was even more vocal in his views on the issue. He reiterated that the China-Africa partnership is a transparent understanding that has been instrumental in the development of several African nations.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn said Africa-China relations have always been based on a win-win approach featuring mutual trust and benefit, and without inference in each other's internal issues.

"Such an open policy has given Africa the option to formulate its own policy of cooperation with the rest of the world," said the Ethiopian leader.

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the president of Equatorial Guinea, said Africa's cooperation with China is a mutually beneficial arrangement and "it was ridiculous and groundless" for some to doubt it.

"China is an important country and a key participant in the global economy. We have full confidence in China and believe that they are sincere in their engagements and fully committed to African development.

"Western countries have no right to blame us as they have never done anything substantial for Africa or African nations."

Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni lauded China's role in African infrastructure development. "In my eyes, all the major railways in Africa, notably the railway from Tanzania to Zambia, have been built by China, and this reflects the specialty of the China-Africa ties."

Museveni told his African counterparts that it was an exemplary gesture from China to build the railway (in the 1970s) at a time when no other foreign country or global agency was willing to undertake the massive project.

"They (Western nations) were willing to build only short-distance roads. This was not something that would have solved our problems," said Museveni.

Angolan President Jos Eduardo dos Santos said Africa is in desperate need of finance, technology and talent training. "We have got sincere and committed help from China in all these sectors."

He also stressed that China, as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, has always been in the forefront for canvassing support on major African issues.

All the leaders agreed that Xi's African visit is further testimony to China's efforts to consolidate its ties with the continent.

"China and Africa are within a community of shared destiny," Xi said in his remarks and maintained that China is committed to support African development and Africa's equal participation in global affairs.

Xi also said that while China will continue to encourage more domestic firms to consider investments in Africa, care would also be taken to ensure that these firms abide by their corporate social responsibilities.

Zuma said it was important for Africa to realize that significant global changes are in the offing.

"We are no longer speculating or expecting what is happening in the rest of the world. We are very much part of it," Zuma said.

The South African president added that African nations must work collectively to unlock the true potential of Africa and tackle challenges like inadequate infrastructure and financing and speed up industrialization, and add value to mineral resources.

Ethiopian Prime Minister Hailemariam Desalegn admitted that infrastructure bottlenecks have hindered economic development and the improvement of people's living conditions in Africa.

He hoped that the Chinese government and people support Africa in key areas, so that Africa can achieve its poverty alleviation goals.

Thomas Yayi, president of Benin, hoped that China can further cooperate with Africa on Africa-related affairs, as Africa itself lacks enough representation in major UN institutions.


600year old coin proves China, Africa trade links

Scientists from Illinois have found a rare, 600-year-old Chinese coin on the Kenyan island of Manda.

The Field Museum in Chicago announced the find Wednesday. The joint expedition was led by Chapurukha Kusimba of the museum and Sloan Williams of the University of Illinois-Chicago. Researchers say the coin proves trade existed between China and eastern Africa decades before European explorers set sail.

The coin is made of copper and silver. It has a square hole in the centre so it could be worn on a belt. Scientists say it was issued by Emperor Yongle of China and his name is written on the coin.

Scientists from Kenya, Pennsylvania and Ohio also participated in the expedition. They also found human remains and other artefacts predating the coin.


Beijing and Paris should intensify African cooperation

China and France should intensify cooperation under a strategic partnership to promote development in Africa, a senior French politician said.

Jean-Marie Le Guen, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the French National Assembly, said the roles of China and France in Africa should be complementary. Stronger cooperation will benefit the region's economic and social development, he said.

"It will be mutually beneficial if China and France can work together... and combine their approaches," Le Guen told China Daily. "China and France should have a strategic partnership in the region."

Cooperation between French and Chinese enterprises is increasing in various sectors in Africa, including infrastructure, logistics, science, health and education, Le Guen said.

France, which has historic links with Africa through colonization and which continues to exert influence over the continent, has been paying close attention to China's growing presence in recent years.

"We know that China has increased investment in Africa, but we think it is a good thing because Africa needs to improve its economy and social development," Le Guen said.

Africa, with an economic growth rate of 5 percent, has become China's fourth-largest investment destination. The total value of China's direct investment in Africa reached $15.3 billion as of April 2012. Bilateral trade jumped to $200 billion in 2012 from $10 billion in 2000.

While France may remain cautious about China's economic presence in Africa, the country may seek political support and closer cooperation with Beijing on key issues in the region, such as its ongoing action in Mali, experts said.

Chinese media recently quoted a French diplomat in Beijing as saying that France hopes China can participate in the international support group meeting on Mali, scheduled to be held in Brussels in April.

Vice-Minister of Foreign Affairs Zhai Jun said earlier that China does not exclude partnerships in cooperation with Africa.

"China and France enjoy satisfying dialogue on the issue and the prospects for Sino-French cooperation to promote development in Africa are good," he said.

China is open to international cooperation in Africa, and cooperation between China and Africa does not exclude other developing countries or developed ones from becoming involved, said Yao Guimei, an expert on China-Africa economic cooperation at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

But any international cooperation should have Africa's consent and be done in the continent's interest, said Yao, pointing to transportation, infrastructure, and agriculture as potential areas for such cooperation.

Since China is a latecomer to Africa, the West is concerned that China's arrival will hamper its interests. However, these worries cannot be eliminated by accusations, Yao said.

"The West cannot always accuse China. Instead it should learn more about the real situation involving China's investment in Africa and its policies," she said.


Last modified on Friday, 05 April 2013 12:47