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China’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi praises ties with Africa, calls for closer co-operation

Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi.

By Philip Etyang

Beijing, China: China considers Africa as an equal, Chinese Foreign Affairs Minister Wang Yi has said.

Speaking at a press conference on China’s Foreign Policy and International Relations, Mr Wang said that although China co-operates with African states at various levels, it has never interfered with the internal affairs of any of the countries.

“China and Africa are good friends who co-operate as equals. In its co-operation with Africa, China has never been condescending, never interfered in the internal affairs of African countries and never given any empty promise,” he said.

In what appeared to be a veiled reference to the West, Wang said China had helped build more than 1,000 projects in different African countries without issuing conditions.

“So far, we have helped African countries build over 1,000 projects and we have never attached any political condition to these projects. This fact alone can show that the groundless accusations against China are pale and hollow,” he said.

Wang’s press conference came on the sidelines of the Second Session of the 12 National People’s Congress at the Great Hall of the People, China’s legislative arm of government in Beijing, China.

“China and Africa are good brothers who share weal and woe. When China was poor, we tightened our belt to support the cause of independence and liberation of our African brothers. It’s our African brothers who got the People’s Republic of China back into the United Nations,” he said.

Common development

Wang revealed that during his January visit to Africa, he learnt through close friends that the reason behind Africa’s sustained growth in recent years was partly because of China-Africa co-operation.

“China and Africa are good partners for common development. When I visited Africa in January this year, many African friends told me in person that an important reason behind Africa’s sustained economic growth in recent years is the boost provided by China-Africa co-operation. And this has gotten other countries to increase their attention on Africa,” said Wang.

He also revealed that 2014 marks the 50 anniversary of Premier Zhou Enlai’s first visit to Africa. Zhou was China’s first premier. He said later in the year current Premier Li Keqiang will also visit Africa for the first time to further foster ties.

“This year marks the 50th anniversary of Premier Zhou Enlai’s first visit to Africa. Since then, China-Africa friendship has been handed down from one generation to another. Last year, President Xi Jinping made a successful visit to Africa. Later this year, Premier Li Keqiang will also visit Africa for the first time,” Wang said.