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Hu urges Asia-Africa strategic partnership
By Qin Jize (China Daily)
Updated: 2005-04-23 00:17

President Hu Jintao said here on Friday that Asian and African countries should vigorously carry forward the Bandung Spirit and strengthen solidarity and co-operation to bring about a new type of Asian-African strategic partnership.

Hu made the remarks when delivering a speech at the Asian-African Summit that opened at Jakarta Convention Centre on Friday.

The two-day meeting, co-hosted by Indonesia and South Africa and attended by leaders and representatives from more than 100 countries and international organizations, is the first summit between leaders of the two continents since the 1955 Asian-African Conference, held in Bandung, Indonesia.

Hu said constructing a long-term, stable and substantive new form of Asian-African strategic partnership that is responsive to the changing times was an important issue that demands collective attention.

The new partnership will focus on three main areas of co-operation: political solidarity, economic co-operation and socio-cultural relations.

On the political front, he said, Asian and African countries should become partners that respect and support each other.

On the economic front, Asian and African nations should become partners that complement each other with their respective strengths for all-round benefit, the Chinese president said.

"We should strengthen capacity-building in response to economic globalization, conduct dialogue on development strategies and learn from each other for common progress," he added.

On the cultural front, Hu said, Asian and African countries should form partnerships that draw on each other's strong points, whilst treating each other with mutual respect and trust. He added the countries should also engage in dialogue and co-ordinate on security issues.

Hu reaffirmed that China will steadfastly follow its chosen path of peaceful development and commit itself to achieving common development with other countries in Asia and Africa.

Development is the most pressing task for Asian and African nations, the Chinese president said.

"We must actively promote and improve North-South relations on the basis of equality and mutual benefit, facilitating North-South dialogue and co-operation," he said.

China will always be a member of the developing world, and strengthening solidarity and co-operation with other developing countries is the cornerstone of China's diplomacy, Hu added.

China has become the fastest growing export market for Asian and African countries, which make up half the world's land area and three quarters of the global population.

Last year, China's trade with the rest of Asia and Africa reached US$462.99 billion, accounting for 40 per cent of its total foreign trade.

Hu had a full schedule of five bilateral meetings on Friday afternoon, including those with Algerian President Abdelaziz Bouteflika, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, and King Gyanendra of Nepal.

It has been reported that the sideline meeting at the summit between the leaders of China and Japan, proposed by the latter, could be arranged for Saturday, but no confirmation from the Chinese Foreign Ministry was received.

When asked about the possibility of holding talks with the Chinese president, Koizumi told reporters: "the meeting is friendship further(ed)."

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