African leaders Thursday hailed the role of China
in safeguarding the interests of developing countries, and expressed their hope
for stronger co-operation with the fast-growing Asian economic power.
They also expected the upcoming Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa
Co-operation (FOCAC) to further benefit the continent's development.
Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) and Seychellois
President James Alix Michel review a honor guard during a welcome ceremony
at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing Thursday, Nov. 2, 2006. James
Alix Michel is in Beijing for a state visit to China and the Beijing
Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), which is
scheduled for Nov. 4-5. [Xinhua]
"We feel glad and proud of the huge achievements China has made," Seychelles
President James Michel said during talks with President Hu Jintao.
"A more developed China can help better safeguard the interests of developing
Michel said his country is willing to develop a new type of partnership and
strengthen its exchanges and co-operation with China.
Hu's meeting with the Seychellois president, on his fifth trip to China, came
ahead of the Beijing Summit that opens tomorrow.
A total of 48 African countries with diplomatic relations with China will
send delegations to the two-day summit.
Michel expressed his belief that "the summit will help the international
order develop in the direction of equity and reason."
During separate meetings with Botswanian President Festus Mogae and Sudanese
President Omar Hassan al-Bashir, Hu said the summit, as the highest-level
bilateral meeting, will chart the path for Sino-African co-operation in the
Mogae and al-Bashir said the people in Africa are beneficiaries of African
co-operation with China, and FOCAC has become a model for South-South
They stressed that China's policy of enhancing co-operation with Africa is of
significance to the development of the continent.
China, the world's largest developing country, has established closer
economic and trade links with Africa, which has most of the world's developing
Since 2001, bilateral trade has grown at an annual average of nearly 40 per
cent to reach US$39.74 billion last year.
So far, China has invested US$6.27 billion in Africa and aided nearly 900
projects in African countries.
On the sensitive issue of Darfur, Hu said China expects Sudan to strengthen
dialogue with all sides to strive for an appropriate solution.
"Stability should be maintained in the Darfur region so as to continuously
improve humanitarian conditions there," Hu said.
The western province has suffered from a three-year war waged by rebels and
has reportedly left 200,000 people dead and 2.5 million displaced.
Al-Bashir said the Sudanese Government is committed to peaceful settlement of
the Darfur issue and is seeking to co-operate with the African Union for an
effective mechanism to push forward the peace process in the