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China-Africa friendship strong despite virus test

CHINESE State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi (pictured) said that the friendship between China and Africa emerged still stronger from the test of Covid-19 in 2020.

Wang made the remarks in a recent interview with Xinhua News Agency and China Media Group.

“With our shared identity as part of the developing world, China and Africa have the responsibility of advancing the interests of developing countries,” he said.

Noting that China and Africa have always shared weal and woe, Wang said their friendship emerged still stronger from the test of Covid-19 in 2020. Chinese President Xi Jinping and African leaders had a successful Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid- 19, and the fine tradition of mutual assistance was further strengthened.

China has sent medical teams, paired up Chinese and African hospitals, provided much-needed medical supplies, and worked with Africa on vaccines, he said.

The Africa Centers for Disease Control and Prevention headquarters as an assistance project by China has just had its groundbreaking ceremony. It will stand as a historic witness of China-Africa solidarity in fighting the pandemic.

China and Africa have scaled up the implementation of follow-ups to the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit, with the health care initiative as a top priority, Wang said, adding that China has signed debt service suspension agreements with 12 African countries and provided waivers of matured interest-free loan for 15 African countries.

“China has suspended more debt service than any other G20 member,” Wang said. “Twenty years ago, FOCAC ushered in a new era of political mutual trust and all-round cooperation between China and Africa. Over the past 20 years, FOCAC has become a new model of friendship, cooperation and common development among developing countries.

“Together, we have drafted and implemented the 10 cooperation plans and the eight major initiatives. With China’s help, over 6,000 kilometers of railways, 6,000 kilometers of roads, nearly 20 ports and over 80 large power plants have been built in Africa.

Two-way trade has grown by 20-fold and China’s direct investment in Africa 100-fold. We have expanded cooperation with Africa in new business forms like digital economy, smart city, clean energy and 5G, thus boosting high-quality development of Belt and Road cooperation between the two sides,” he said.

Noting that China and Africa will have FOCAC meetings in Senegal in 2021, Wang said in this context, China will work with Africa on the three priority areas of vaccine cooperation, economic recovery and transformative development to build new consensus on solidarity, break new ground for cooperation, and deliver new benefits to the people.

When commenting on China’s diplomacy in 2020, Wang said the biggest highlight in China’s foreign relations has been the “cloud diplomacy” conducted at the head-of-state level. In 2020, President Xi Jinping personally planned, oversaw and engaged in “cloud diplomacy”, having 87 meetings and phone calls with foreign leaders and heads of international organizations and attending 22 important bilateral or multilateral events through this virtual platform, according to Wang.

“With ‘cloud diplomacy’, China has demonstrated its sense of responsibility, contributed its wisdom and expanded the ways it conducts foreign relations,” he said.

Noting that the year 2021 will be of historic significance to China’s national rejuvenation, Wang said the country will celebrate the centenary of the Communist Party of China (CPC) and embark on a new journey of fully building a modern socialist country.

“We will make our best efforts to serve China’s development strategies,” Wang said, adding that the Chinese side will endeavor to create a favorable external environment for fostering a new development paradigm and implementing the 14th Five- Year Plan at home.

The Chinese side will further upgrade opening-up and cooperation, advance highquality Belt and Road cooperation, tap into the strength of China’s enormous market and its potential of domestic demand, boost global recovery with its own growth, and share with the world China’s “development dividends”. “We will proactively engage in the reform of global governance,” Wang said.

Noting that the year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China’s lawful seat at the United Nations and the 20th anniversary of its accession to the World Trade Organization, the foreign minister said China will continue to practice multilateralism, host a successful UN Biodiversity Conference, meet global challenges in partnership with others, and promote a more equitable and sound global governance system.

“We will continue to work for a community with a shared future for mankind,” Wang said, adding that China will uphold the shared values of humanity - peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and work with all countries to build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world of lasting peace, universal security and common prosperity.

THE world will never be the same after ...

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Author: Xinhua

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