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'Bandung spirit' lives on after 50 years
By Cao Desheng (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-19 06:43

Co-operation between China and Asian and African countries has born fruit thanks to the "Bandung spirit," a senior Chinese official said yesterday.

The milestone Bandung Asian-African conference was held 50 years ago in Indonesia.

Last year witnessed US$400 billion worth of trade between China and other Asian and African countries one-third of the nation's total foreign trade, said State Councillor Tang Jiaxuan.

"Apart from promoting the establishment of the China-ASEAN free trade zone, we have also launched the China-Arab and China-Africa co-operation forum and made considerable progress with Arab and African countries," Tang said.

Tang made the speech at a meeting organized by the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries in Beijing yesterday, commemorating the 50th Anniversary of the Bandung Conference.

The "Bandung spirit" - an outcome of the conference characterized by unity, equality and co-operation - has since become an important principle guiding various nations' international relations.

Representatives of 29 countries from the rising Asian-African world attended the conference on May 18, 1955. Late Premier Zhou Enlai headed China's delegation to the conference.

It was the first time Asian and African countries initiated and sponsored an international conference without the participation of colonialists.

Activities commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Bandung Conference will be held in Indonesia this coming Sunday and President Hu Jintao will attend the celebration during his state visits to Brunei, Indonesia and the Philippines from April 20 to 28.

Indonesian ambassador to China Aa Kustia said the "Bandung spirit" is as valid today when handling international relations as it was 50 years ago. The ambassador's remarks were echoed by Sanjay Bhattacharyya, charge de affairs of the Embassy of India in Beijing.

(China Daily 04/19/2005 page2)

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