Chinese President opens China-Africa summit

Updated: 2006-11-04 11:02

Chinese President Hu Jintao delivered a speech on Saturday morning at the opening ceremony of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The leaders of China and African countries, in a common pursuit of friendship, peace, cooperation and development, are gathered in Beijing to renew friendship, discuss ways of growing China-Africa relations and promote unity and cooperation among developing countries, said President Hu.

"Our meeting today will go down in history," Hu said.

The FOCAC was jointly set up by China and Africa in October 2000, a major initiative taken to promote traditional China-Africa friendship and cooperation.

"In the six years since then, two ministerial conferences have been held, first in Beijing and then in Addis Ababa. Today, the Forum serves as an important platform and effective mechanism for conducting collective dialogue, exchanging experience in governance and enhancing mutual trust and cooperation in practical terms between China and African countries," Hu said.

He said this year marks the 50th anniversary of the inauguration of diplomatic ties between New China and African countries. Though vast oceans keep China and Africa far apart, the friendship between the two peoples has a long history and, having been tested by times, is strong and vigorous.

"In the long course of history, the Chinese and African peoples, with an unyielding and tenacious spirit, created splendid and distinctive ancient civilizations. In the modern ear, our peoples launched unremitting and heroic struggle against subjugation, and have written a glorious chapter in the course of pursuing freedom and liberation, upholding human dignity, and striving for economic development and national rejuvenation," said Hu.

He noted that the progress and development of China and Africa are major contribution to the advancement of human civilization.

He said during the past five decades, the Chinese and African peoples have forged close unity, and the friendship between the two peoples has flourished. "China-Africa exchanges and cooperation have grown in all fields and yielded fruitful results," said Hu.

He said in international affairs, China and Africa enjoy trust and cooperate closely to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of the developing world.

Hu noted that China has firmly supported Africa in winning liberation and pursuing development, and it has also received great support from African countries.

"China has trained technical personnel and other professionals in various fields for Africa. It has built the Tanzara Railway and other infrastructure projects and sent medical teams and peacekeepers to Africa. All this testifies to the friendship cherished by the Chinese people towards the African people," said Hu.

"We in China all not forget Africa's all support for restoring the lawful rights of the People's Republic of China in the United Nations. Nor will we forget the sincere and ardent wish of African countries and people for China to realize complete and peaceful reunification and achieve the goal of building a modern nation," said Hu.

Hu also hailed traditional friendship between China-Africa and pledged to enhance it.

"China-Africa friendship is deeply rooted in the hearts of our two peoples, and our friendship has endured the test of time and changes in the world," Hu said.

"We have never strayed from the principle of enhancing friendship, treating each other as equals, extending mutual support and promoting common development in building our ties," Hu said.

"Friendship provides a solid foundation for reinforcing China- Africa friendly ties," Hu said, adding that both China and Africa value the traditional friendship and are committed to enhancing it.

He noted that the two sides treating each other as equals is crucial for ensuring mutual trust.

"We both respect the development path independently embarked upon by the other side. We both are serious in addressing each other's concerns and are eager to benefit from each other's practice in development," Hu said.

According to the president, mutual support is the driving force behind the ever growing China-Africa cooperation, and common development is the shared aspiration of the Chinese and African peoples.

"We both wish to see progress in the development endeavor of the other side and sincerely support such endeavor. And we are engaged in comprehensive cooperation," Hu said.

He noted that the world today is undergoing profound and complex changes, but peace, development and cooperation remain the calling of the times. There is growing trend towards multipolarity and economic globalization. Science and technology are making daily advance, regional cooperation is deepening and there is increasing interdependence among nations. All this has created rare development opportunities for the international community.

On the other hand, Hu added, imbalance in global development, widening gap between North and South, the combination of traditional and non-traditional security threats as well as increasing factors of instability and uncertainty standing in the way of peace and development all pose a daunting challenge to developing countries in their pursuit of sustainable development.

"China is the largest developing country, and Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. The combined population of the two sides accounts for over a third of the world total. Without peace and development in China and Africa, there will be no global peace and development," He noted.

In the new era, China and Africa share increasing common interests and have a growing mutual need. The forging of a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership is determined by the dynamics of China-Africa cooperation, and it represents our wish to promote global peace and development, he said.

Building strong ties between China and Africa will not only promote development of each side, but also help cement unity and cooperation among developing countries and contribute to establishing a just and equitable new international political and economic order, said Hu.

President Hu, 41 heads of state or government and senior officials of 48 African countries that have diplomatic ties with China, as well as representatives from regional and international organizations, attended the landmark gathering highlighting "friendship, peace, cooperation and development".

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