China and Africa should strengthen cooperation to jointly deal with global security challenges and uphold international justice, China's defense minister said at a high-level security forum on Tuesday in Beijing, adding that 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 at the third China-Africa Peace and Security Forum, calling on both sides to continue cooperating closely on hot spot and sensitive issues, and jointly reject hegemony and bullying.
During a plenary session of the six-day forum, attended by over 100 representatives from nearly 50 countries, Li said that 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. Its assistance to Africa, including military aid, is not attached to any political conditions. All security cooperation is based on consultation among all parties," Li said, adding that these have become the cornerstone of security mutual trust between China and Africa.
Senior Colonel Zhao Xiaozhuo, a researcher at the People's Liberation Army Academy of Military Science, said that Li's speech reflected China's firm support for Africa both strategically and diplomatically.
"China is not trying to promote its model and values through cooperation with Africa. It's just offering Africa another choice of path," Zhao said.
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 that China insists on combining the development of China-Africa security cooperation with the enhancement of Africa's own stability maintenance capabilities.
Li said that China continues to promote the Initiative of Peaceful Development in the Horn of Africa and implements security assistance projects in peacekeeping, counterterrorism, antipiracy and public security.
China also conducts joint exercises and warship visits with African countries, helping to strengthen their defense and military construction, he said.
The minister outlined the direction of future China-Africa cooperation, emphasizing that both sides should continue implementing the important consensus reached by Chinese and African leaders and promote deep and practical security cooperation, actively contributing to maintaining peace and stability in China, Africa and the world.
He pointed out that China and Africa should jointly address various international security challenges while also staying "highly vigilant in jointly 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 neocolonialism 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 their core interests and major concerns, closely cooperate on sensitive issues, jointly resist hegemony, dominance and bullying, and safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries," Li said.
He announced a series of measures to promote China-Africa security cooperation, including maritime security cooperation, talent training and military cultural exchanges.
On the sidelines of the forum, Li also met with security and defense leaders from the African Union and 10 African countries, including Senegal, Comoros, Cameroon and Uganda.
Beti Assomo, Cameroon's minister delegate at the presidency in charge of defense, said the "sincere, solid and mutually beneficial relationship" between China and Africa has made their partnership a fruitful cooperative model.
He emphasized that Africa is increasingly becoming a stage for geopolitical and geostrategic confrontations, facing challenges such as terrorism, imperialism and hegemony.
The official called for more exchanges between China and Africa in the strategic field, highlighting that "our defense and security partnership with China has developed rapidly in recent years".
Bankole Adeoye, commissioner for political affairs, peace and security of the African Union Commission, said that China and Africa share a common interest in building a resilient, durable, secure, united and progressive Africa.
"For the African Union, it's crucial to establish a mutually beneficial relationship with China," he added.