xi's moments

Wang to begin five days of African visits

By CAO DESHENG | China Daily | Updated: 2019-01-02 07:52

Wang Yi, Chinese State councilor and foreign minister. [Photo/IC]

Trips to four nations to boost traditional friendships, implement consensuses

State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi's five-day Africa tour starting Wednesday will help boost the traditional friendship with nations of the continent and implement the consensus Chinese and African leaders reached at the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, analysts said

Wang will visit Ethiopia, Burkina Faso, Gambia, Senegal and the headquarters of the African Union during his stay in Ethiopia. It will be the first time Wang has made an official visit to Gambia or Burkina Faso. The two countries resumed diplomatic ties with China in 2016 and 2018, respectively.

Wang's visit to Africa is a continuation of the tradition of Chinese foreign ministers choosing Africa for their first overseas trip of the year since 1991, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Friday.

It demonstrates the priority China places on developing its ties with Africa, Hua said.

During his visit to the continent, Wang will follow the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith in working with the continent to strengthen communication and alignment with African countries, she added.

Wang's African visits take place a few months after the FOCAC Beijing Summit held in September, the forum's largest summit, involving 40 presidents, 10 prime ministers and one vice-president from African countries as well as the chairman of the African Union Commission.

Liu Guijin, a veteran diplomat who once served as the first special representative of the Chinese government on African affairs, said in an interview that Wang's visit to Africa is of special significance given the profound changes in the international landscape.

"Wang is expected to use the visit to implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and African leaders and carry out the outcomes of the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, so as to advance bilateral ties between China and African countries and China-Africa relations as a whole," Liu said.

Xi announced at the summit that China will implement eight major initiatives to enhance cooperation with African countries in the next three years and beyond, covering fields such as industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation and green development.

Liu said China values the traditional friendship with Africa, and cooperation with the African countries is mutually beneficial, not meant to seek geostrategic benefits.

The United States unveiled its new Africa strategy last month based on "America First" principles. US National Security Adviser John Bolton said the strategy has been designed to counter the financial and political influence of China and Russia.

Liu said the America First US strategy and the remarks made by Bolton have aroused widespread criticism from the international community, particularly from African countries. "African countries don't want the continent to become a field that the US strangles for the sake of its geostrategic interests," he said.

No one knows better than the African people whether China-Africa cooperation produces real benefits or not, and whether China's assistance to Africa works well or not, he added.

Liu also lauded China's peacekeeping role in Africa, saying the country has increased assistance to the African Union to help the continent maintain independence, peace and security.

At the FOCAC Beijing Summit, Xi announced that China would set up a China-Africa peace and security fund and continue providing free military aid to the African Union. A total of 50 security assistance programs will be carried out in areas such as UN peacekeeping missions, fighting piracy and combating terrorism.

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