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Defense official emphasizes China-Africa cooperation

By JIANG CHENGLONG | | Updated: 2023-08-29 20:08
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China and Africa should strengthen their cooperation to jointly deal with global security challenges and uphold international justice, Chinese defense minister said at a high-level security forum in Beijing, stressing China has never interfered in the continent's internal affairs.

State Councilor and Minister of National Defense Li Shangfu made the remarks in a keynote speech on Tuesday at the third China-Africa Peace and Security Forum, calling on both sides to continue to cooperate closely on sensitive issues while rejecting hegemony and bullying actions.

In a plenary session of the six-day forum attended by over 100 representatives from nearly 50 countries, Li said China supports African solutions to African problems, supports regional organizations such as the African Union to play a leading role in addressing security challenges, and strives to help Africa fundamentally solve security issues.

"China never imposes its will on others and never interferes with Africa's internal affairs. And its assistance to Africa, including military aid, is not attached to any political conditions," he said. "All security cooperation is based on consultation among all parties. All those have become an important cornerstone of mutual security trust between China and Africa.

"For decades, China has always been fair and just in international affairs for its African brothers, supporting African countries in uniting and strengthening themselves," he said, expressing firm opposition to "any unreasonable interference in African affairs".

In addition, Li emphasized that China-Africa cooperation focuses on practicability and effectiveness.

"It is more important to show people how to fish than just giving them fish," he said, noting China insists on combining the development of China-Africa security cooperation with the enhancement of Africa's own stability maintenance capabilities.

Li said China continues to promote the Peaceful Development Initiative of the Horn of Africa and implements security assistance projects in peacekeeping, counter-terrorism, anti-piracy and public security.

China also conducts joint exercises and warship visits with African countries, helping to strengthen their defense and military construction.

The senior official also outlined the direction of future China-Africa cooperation, stating both sides should continue implementing the consensus reached by their leaders and promoting deep and practical security cooperation, actively contributing to maintaining peace and stability in China, Africa, and the world.

He added cooperation should continue while also "keeping highly vigilant in resisting countries that interfere in others' internal affairs to maintain their own interests, point fingers at China-Africa cooperation, and fabricate rumors and lies, such as so-called neo-colonialism and debt traps".

"As forces for peace and justice, China and Africa should further deepen strategic mutual trust and cooperation, firmly support each other on issues related to core interests and major concerns, closely cooperate on sensitive issues, jointly resist hegemony, dominance and bullying, and safeguard the legitimate rights of developing countries," Li said.

The defense chief also announced a series of measures to promote China-Africa security cooperation, including maritime security cooperation, training and cultural exchanges.

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