Li Zhaoxing Talks about Premier Wen Jiabao's Seven-African-Nation Tour: Sincere Friendship and Mutually Beneficial Cooperation

Premier Wen Jiabao paid an official visit to seven African nations, i.e. Egypt, Ghana, the Republic of Congo, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda from June 17 to 24, 2006. Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing accompanied him during the visit and briefed the journalists in the delegation about the tour before the end of the tour.

Li said that with steps across the African continent, Premier Wen visited all the sub-regions in the east, west, south and north. He traveled 35,000 kilometers. The number of African countries visited by him this time is the largest among Chinese leaders in recent years and it is the first time for some of those African countries to receive the visit of Chinese Premier. The visit has a tight schedule and rich agenda and achieved fruitful results. Within 8 days a total of over 80 activities were held. In addition to holding talks and meetings with the leaders of the seven countries, Premier Wen delivered speeches on multiple occasions, paid field visits and reached out to the African people and those Chinese working in Africa. The African and international media paid high attention to Premier Wen's visit. The visit has achieved the objectives of deepening friendship, enhancing mutual trust, broadening cooperation and seeking common development and would have a far-reaching influence on the development of China-Africa relations in the new era.

I. Deepening China-Africa traditional friendship

The same historical experience combines China and Africa closely. No matter in the fight for national liberation or in the process of national building, the Chinese and African people have extended sympathy and support to each other and established profound friendship. China never forgets its old friend of Africa. The purpose of Premier Wen's visit is to deepen China-Africa friendship, and the African people also welcome their Chinese friend passionately. The leaders of both sides indicate that although China and Africa are far away from each other we feel the intimacy and power of friendship all the time.

Premier Wen and the leaders of the seven countries reviewed the history of China-Africa friendship and cooperation. Wen said emotionally, "I come to visit my relatives and friends." The African leaders answered feelingly, "You come home." Premier Wen visited schools and construction sites, talked with locals cordially, especially visited the AIDS patients in a medical center, donated anti-malaria drugs to several African countries, presented stationery to local students and expressed the best wishes of the Chinese people to their African brothers and sisters. During the visit Li was deeply moved by the scenes of friendship.

II. Expanding mutual benefit and win-win cooperation

China and African countries are all developing nations. It is their common task of overcoming difficulties and developing themselves in the globalization era. China and Africa share strong economic complementarities and enjoy promising prospects of conducting mutually beneficial cooperation and realizing common development. Making a speech in South Africa during the visit, Premier Wen comprehensively expounded China's proposal of developing the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership of equality, mutual trust, win-win cooperation and exchanges. China signed the cooperation outline on deepening strategic partnership with Egypt and South Africa, issued the joint communiqué with the other five countries to plan bilateral cooperation from a strategic perspective. China and the seven countries signed altogether 71 agreements, covering such areas as politics, economy and trade, infrastructure construction, culture, education, science and technology. Chinese pledged continues aid for the social progress of the seven countries, including establishing the agriculture demo centers and countryside primary schools, dispatching the medical teams, donating anti-malaria drugs and training various professionals, which is highly praised by all the seven countries.

Premier Wen stressed that China-Africa cooperation should give top priority to the needs of Africa. Enhancing Africa's economic strength should be combined with promoting its social progress, providing economic assistance with boosting technological cooperation, and government support with business initiative so as to raise the self-development capacity of Africa. Pragmatic job should be done in the public welfare sectors of culture, education and health in a bid to bring about tangible benefits to the African people. Chinese enterprises operating in Africa should attach great importance to project quality and benefits and environmental protection and actively help local communities with pragmatic deeds. Such ideas and proposals have great guiding significance to strengthening China-Africa cooperation.

III. Increasing trust, easing concerns and receiving understanding

Recently there are a few people in the international community spreading the so-called China threat theory. Some friends in Africa worry about the impact of Chinese goods on African market and employment. Through various forms such as formal talks and holding press conference, Premier Wen patiently introduced China's African policies and China's position on related hot topics. He stressed that China sincerely cares about Africa, wishes to help Africa and is willing to continue to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with Africa on the basis of mutual respect, non-interference in other countries' internal affairs, equality and mutual benefit. He pointed out that the remarks spread by some people contradict not only historical facts but also the current situation of China-Africa relations and are irresponsible. Moving people by emotion and convincing people by reasoning, Premier Wen increased the understanding and support of Africa and the international community for China's policies with Africa. The African countries spoke highly of China's policies with Africa, thanked China for its help to Africa's peace and development and agreed that China's development brings about opportunities to Africa and China is a reliable friend and partner of Africa. They said that in the past China, though not rich, had helped the African people in their fight for independence and liberation and today China which is developing rapidly also helps us cope with the challenges of globalization. China's development benefits not only Africa but also the entire world. Time reveals a person's heart. China-Africa friendship has stood the test of time and will enjoy an even brighter future.

IV. Encouraging China-Africa friendship ambassadors to make new contributions

During his visit, Premier Wen met with and visited Chinese diplomats in Africa on many occasions, extended greetings to the members of Chinese medical teams, technicians and engineers, paid regards to the grave of Chinese martyrs offering assistance to building the Tanzania-Zambia Railway and talked cordially with representatives of entrepreneurs and overseas Chinese. Premier Wen extended respect for their hard work of promoting China-Africa friendship in harsh conditions and encouraged the Chinese in Africa to forge ahead and make new contributions to China-Africa relations. Premier Wen was concerned about the work and life of the overseas Chinese in Africa, urged them to take care of themselves and said that the Party and the government would strive to improve their working and living conditions. The Chinese in Africa all said that they would never be unworthy of the care of Premier Wen, the great trust of the motherland and the expectation of the African people and would make continuous contributions to China-Africa friendship.

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