> Hu's Visit
Africa trip not just about oil: Official
By Li Xiaokun (China Daily)
Updated: 2009-02-11 07:42

President Hu Jintao's upcoming visit to four African countries will show that China's commitment to the continent reaches beyond business and resources, a senior diplomat said.

"You've noticed that the four African countries the president will visit are not famous for natural resources," Xu Jinghu, director of the African department under the Foreign Ministry, told China Daily.

She was referring to Mali, Senegal, Tanzania and Mauritius, which Hu will visit after his tour of Saudi Arabia.

"Some of the countries have enjoyed friendship with China for almost 50 years. But for Senegal, diplomatic relations were restored only three years ago," she said.

"This shows China's sincerity in developing relations with the continent as a whole," she said.

"Developing relations with Africa is not a makeshift, but a long-term commitment It's the key reason behind our rosy relations that lasted for more than half a century," she said.

The visit aims to "further consolidate China's friendship with these countries and promote the implementation of the measures announced at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (in late 2006)", which has nearly been realized, she said.

Xu denied that China was interested only in Africa's oil reserves. "We import less oil from Africa than do the United States and Europe."

The US bought 31 percent of Africa's oil in 2007, Europe got 31 percent and China 12 percent, she said. A World Bank report said Chinese investment in the oil industry in Africa is less than one 16th of that invested by Western firms.

(China Daily 02/11/2009 page3)