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China backs Africa politically and economically: Chinese FM in Africa
January 12, 2015, 6:38 am

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks to reporters after talks with his Kenyan counterpart Amina Mohamed in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Jan. 10, 2015 [Xinhua]

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi speaks to reporters after talks with his Kenyan counterpart Amina Mohamed in Nairobi, capital of Kenya, Jan. 10, 2015 [Xinhua]

During a five-nation Africa tour, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has said Beijing’s relationship with Africa is a vital cornerstone in China’s overall diplomacy.

“Politically, we always speak up for African countries and uphold justice. Economically, we help African countries to enhance development to achieve prosperity,” Wang told Chinese broadcaster CCTV.

Kenya was the first stop in his Africa tour where he met Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta. China’s engagement with Kenya is set to expand with a new focus on industrial development and technology transfer, said Wang.

China and Kenya signed a memorandum of understanding on establishing a bilateral steering committee during Wang’s visit.

“We have agreed to make further progress in the comprehensive cooperative partnership between our two countries featuring equality, mutual trust, mutual benefit and win-win outcomes,” Wang told reporters after meeting with his Kenyan counterpart Amina Mohamed on Saturday.

“I see my visit to Africa this time as a follow-up to advance cooperation; and a trip for peace. To say it is a follow-up trip: I come here to follow through the principles of sincerity, delivering outcomes, affinity and good faith put forward by President Xi Jinping,” said Wang.

The Chinese Foreign Minister also rebutted critics of China who accuse the country of harbouring neo-colonial designs for the African continent.

“I want to make clear one point: that is that China will never follow the track of western colonists, and our cooperation with Africa will never come at the expense of the ecology, environment or long term interests of Africa,” said Wang.

“We want to send a clear and firm signal to the outside world that China wants to enhance solidarity and cooperation with Africa. That’s so in past and now, and it will be the same in the future. China and Africa form a community of common destinies,” he added.

US President Barack Obama took a swipe at China at a summit of African leaders in August last year, claiming that the US is interested in the continent for more than just its minerals and oil.

Beijing hit back at Obama’s dig, saying the US needs to reconsider its attitude to Chinese investment in Africa.

“We hope the United States, the largest developed country in the world, can play a greater role in supporting the development of African nations,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said, urging Washington to be “objective” and “rational” about China’s engagement with Africa.

China overtook the United States as Africa’s biggest trade partner in 2009.

China has built roads, railways, stadiums and pipelines in the continent even as it gained access to Africa’s oil and minerals.

In July last year, China said more than half its foreign aid, of more than $14 billion between 2010 and 2012, went to Africa.

Historically, Sino-African ties have also been strengthened by the fact that Beijing backed African liberation movements fighting to throw off Western colonial rule.

During his Africa trip earlier last year, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang unveiled extra aid for Africa totaling $12 billion.

After a two-day official visit in Kenya, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang is in Sudan and will next travel to Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

 

TBP and Agencies

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