BEIJING -- Senior officials from China and 48 African countries concluded a
two-day meeting in the Chinese capital Thursday, having made final preparations
for the upcoming high-profile Beijing Summit scheduled for November 4-5.
The Senior Officials Meeting has been the fifth in the framework of the Forum
on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a mechanism for collective dialogue and
cooperation jointly established by China and Africa to cope with new challenges
and facilitate common development.
China will announce a package of major assistance, investment, trade and
other key cooperation projects with Africa at the summit, said Chinese Vice
Commerce Minister Wei Jianguo at the Senior Officials Meeting.
Considering the wishes of African friends, the Chinese government has decided
to offer more cooperation projects to Africa to deepen mutual benefit and
cooperation and realize common development, Wei said.
During the Senior Officials Meeting, delegates from China and African
countries reviewed the preparation work for the Beijing Summit and the FOCAC
Ministerial Conference, and further exchanged views on the documents to be
passed at the summit.
Meanwhile, 15 African leaders arrived in Beijing Thursday, including
presidents of Zambia, Ghana and Kenya, and nine others had arrived earlier for
the Beijing Summit.
During Chinese President Hu Jintao's talks with James Alix Michel, president
of the Republic of Seychelles on Thursday, Hu said "the China-Seychelles
relation has become a model for equal treatment and mutual assistance between
big and small countries", and China will continue to boost the international
community to pay more attention to the development issue of Seychelles and other
small-island developing countries.
In a meeting with Sudanese President Omer Hassan Ahmed El- Bashir, Hu said
China hopes the Sudanese government can strengthen dialogue with each concerned
party on the Darfur conflict and try to maintain stability in the region.
"We hope the Sudanese government can find an appropriate settlement, maintain
stability, and constantly improves the humanitarian conditions in the region,"
Hu said, noting China will continue to make contributions to an early
realization of peace and stability in Darfur.
"We are willing to deepen mutual understanding and trust, widen bilateral
cooperation in economy, trade, culture, education and health, and strengthen
coordination and cooperation between China and Botswana in international affairs
to maintain the common interests of developing countries," Hu told Botswana
President Festus Mogaein in a meeting the same day.
China's capital has been dressed up in the run-up to the historic summit,
with traditional Chinese red lanterns and billboards featuring typical images of
Africa and posters proclaiming Sino-African "friendship, cooperation,
development and peace" in English and French on major streets in downtown
On the sideline the of the Beijing Summit, the Chinese government is also
cranking up a campaign to promote African culture among citizens, with two
exhibitions opening here Thursday, one of coins and stamps from 48 African
countries and the other of African handicraft, to showcase African landscapes,
places of historical interest and relations with China.
"It's a good opportunity for ordinary Chinese to have a glimpse of Africa,"
said Cheng Hui, an avid collector who provided some of the handicraft pieces on
show. "Many Africans are born to be artists. Even items from 2,000 years ago
still make vogue artwork today."
Johnson Weru from Kenya said the exhibition made him feel at home and would
help enhance friendship and understanding between the Africans and the Chinese.
So far over 1,200 Chinese and overseas journalists have been registered for
the covering of the summit, including 118 African reporters that have arrived in
Beijing. About 300 African reporters are also gearing up for the Third
Ministerial Conference on Friday, and the summit over the weekend.
Seeing comfortable environment, convenient communication equipment,
broadband, IDD telephone, bulletin boards, many African reporters coming to
China for the summit said they feel like working at home.