CHINA / National

Official rejects claims over Africa policy
By Le Tian (China Daily)
Updated: 2006-06-10 08:54

The Foreign Ministry said on Friday that it was "erroneous and one-sided" to suggest China was interested in Africa only because of its energy resources.

"China has comprehensive ties with the African continent," Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei said at a briefing ahead of a visit by Premier Wen Jiabao to seven African nations from June 17-24.

"The comprehensive economic and trade co-operation between China and African countries is based on mutual benefit."

He said some believe the import of oil is China's sole purpose in developing economic ties with Africa, but this view was erroneous and one-sided.

"We've even adopted some measures to help African nations, including offering government subsidies to help imports from Africa."

Wen will visit Egypt, Ghana, the Republic of Congo, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda during his tour.

A series of agreements on political, economic, agricultural and health partnerships are expected to be signed, including some relating to energy, according to He.

During the visit, Wen will hold talks with leaders of the seven countries and exchange views on promoting bilateral relations, Sino-African ties and other issues of common concern, He told reporters.

"Wen's visit will be another important act in China's diplomacy with Africa, following the publication of African policy documents early this year and a successful visit by President Hu Jintao to three African nations in April," He said.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and Africa.

Trade volume has jumped from US$120 million in 1956 to US$39.7 billion last year, according to the Foreign Ministry statistics.

China's direct investment in African countries amounts to US$1.18 billion, with more than 800 Chinese enterprises operating on the continent, He said.

He added that China would undertake a series of policies to help Africa boost its foreign trade.

"We understand that Africa has met with some problems in the course of globalisation.

"We understand and we will think of some ways to promote trade and economic ties between China and Africa."

China will also actively consider the demands of some African countries, which want to encourage more Chinese tourists, He said.