|Address by H.E. Ambassador Tian Xuejun At the Open Day Event In Celebration of the Fifth FOCAC Ministerial Conference|
Address by H.E. Ambassador Tian Xuejun
At the Open Day Event
In Celebration of the Fifth FOCAC Ministerial Conference
Hosted by the Embassy of the People's Republic of China
In the Republic of South Africa
(Pretoria, 3 July 2012)
Welcome to the Chinese Embassyand welcome to the Open Day Event in celebration of the Fifth FOCAC Ministerial Conference. First of all, Iwish to extend my sincerestgratitudeto every one of you for your long-term commitment and contribution to China-South Africa and China-Africa cooperation.
This year marks the 12th anniversary of the establishment of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. It is also an important year of development for the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa. The Fifth FOCAC Ministerial Conference will be held from 19 to 20 July in Beijing, the first of its kind in the second decade of the 21st century. This conference willreview the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Fourth Ministerial Conference, and draw the blueprint ofChina-Africa cooperation for the next three years. Or to say, this conference is to review the past and look into the future.
While we all know whatFOCAC stands for, here, Iwish to provide another interpretation of thesefive letters,and share with you my observations of China-Africa relations.
The first,"F"for friendship.
As a Chinesepoemgoes, "mutual understanding knows no distance, we can be close at heart even thousands of miles apart."Geographical distance has never stood in the way of China-Africa friendship. As early as in the 2nd Century B.C., China and Africa have already started to know each other. In the 15th Century, Chinese navigator Zheng He's fleet visited the eastern coast of African continent several times, bringing the unique Chinese culture and the friendlinessof the Chinese people to Africa. Many African countries also used to send envoys to China. These stories are all legacies of our friendship.
After the foundingof the People's Republic of China in 1949, Africa has rendered the new China generous and crucial support on such major issues as the restoration of the legitimate seat in the United Nations, the entry intothe WTO, and the bidsfor the Beijing Olympics Games and the Shanghai World Expo. China has also firmly stood by the African people in theirjust fight against capitalism and colonialism for national independence. We offered African people moral and material support and contributedto their victory towards national liberation and independence. We have shared weal and woe together, and we are indeed good friends, good brothers and good partners.
The second,"O"for opportunity.
Africa has hardworking people, rich natural resources, huge markets and great potentials for future development. In recent years, African countries,includingSouth Africa,are working vigorously to promote infrastructure construction, boost agriculture and manufacturing, facilitate industrialization and regional integrity,and push for a new round of fast growth of the continent. The internationalcommunity is recognizing more opportunities in Africa, which is now rising as the Future Star. Like Africa, China is also ata crucial stage of social and economic transformation. We share increasing complementarities in economic and trade structure. Therefore,China and Africa are facingrare opportunities for future development.
China-Africa cooperation has been growing over the past 5 decades. The level of cooperation has been elevated and the areas expandedconstantly. When China established diplomatic relations with Egyptin 1956, the total trade volume between China and Africa was only US$12million, and the figure exceeded US$10billion for the first time in 2000. However, after the establishment of FOCAC, China-Africa trade has been skyrocketingby an annual growth rate of 30%. In 2011, China-Africa trade reachedUS$166.3 billion, making China Africa's largest trading partner. In addition, exchanges and cooperation in other areas such as economy, science and technology, culture, education and people-to-people arenaare developing in an all-round way under the FOCAC framework.
China is the world's largest developing country and Africa is home to the largest numbers of developing countries.As a result, we share extensive and common interests and broad agreement on many issues, rangingfrom our own development to peace and developmentof the whole world. From the 1955 Bandung Conference when Chinese and African leaders shookhands for the first time,to the establishment of the "new type of strategic partnership"during the 2006 FOCAC Conference, China-Africa friendship and cooperation have stood the test of time ofmore than 50 years. In recent years, we are witnessing morefrequent high-level exchanges and enhanced political mutual trust between China and Africa. We cooperate closely with each other on international and regional issues and we render each other coordination and understanding on issues concerning our core and major interests. By working together, China and Africa have been upholding and expanding the commoninterests of developing countriesas a whole.
Thefinal,"C"for common development.
People in China and Africa have all suffered from the invasion of colonialism. Independence, freedom and democracy were the common pursuit of our people during those dark years of humiliation. After its establishmentin 1949, the People's Republic of China has been following closely Africa'endeavor for independence, peace and development. We havedoneour utmost tooffergenuine assistanceto Africa, supporting major African projects including the establishment of the African Union and the implementation of NEPAD. As now the world isexperiencing profound and complicated changes and the impact of the international financial crisis and the European debt crisis is still crunching, people's well-being, stability and development have become the shared tasks of both Africa and China, once again linking the two peoples closely together.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we are approachingcold winter in Pretoria, Beijing is receiving thehot summer. Despite the differences in climate, language and national conditions, we in China and Africa share extensive and profound consensus in promoting cooperationand pursuing common development. Ibelieve the Chinese people now are ready to welcome and receivefriends from the African continent with all their passion and sincerity.
Andfor our Embassy, weare hosting this Open Day Event to showcase the development of China-Africa cooperation. We hope the statistics, stories and pictures that we are sharing with you will provide you a better understanding of China, and of the past, present and future of China-Africa relations.And by working together, we can push the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa to a higher level.