President Jiang Zemin’s speech at ‘Usher in the New Century Together’ forum attended by Mkapa

Former China’s President Jiang Zemin passed away on Wednesday. Below is Zemin’s speech at the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation-Ministerial Conference Beijing 2000. 

Your Excellencies President Eyadema, President Bouteflika President Chiluba President Mkapa and Secretary-General Salim.


Ladies and Gentlemen:

In this golden autumn of October, we are gathering here in Beijing for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation-Ministerial Conference Beijing 2000. This is the first of its kind in the history of Sino-African relationship On behalf of the Chinese Government and people and in my own name, I wish to extend our warm welcome to all our distinguished guests coming from afar and express my sincere congratulations on the successful convocation of the Forum.

China is the largest developing country in the world and Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. At the turn of the millennium and the century. China and Africa are faced with both historical opportunities for greater development and unprecedented challenges.

At this important historical juncture, an in-depth discussion between us on how to strengthen cooperation and promote common development will undoubtedly exert a far-reaching important impact on the cross-century development of Sino-African relations, closer South-South cooperation and the establishment of an equitable and just new international political and economic order.

The 20th century has witnessed earth-shaking changes in both China and Africa. The Chinese and African peoples once fought courageously for their national independence and freedom. They have since made strenuous efforts for peace and development. They have scored remarkable achievements and made historical progress in building up their countries.


During the Second World War, the Chinese people and the African people fought an anti-Fascist war bravely on their respective fronts and contributed tremendously to the final victory of the war.

Having smashed the shackles of the colonial rule that lasted for several centuries, the African people won their national liberation and independence. They have since registered gratifying progress in social and economic development.

The Chinese people did away with imperialism. Feudalism and bureaucrat-capitalism, known as the “three big mountains” weighing down on the backs of the Chinese people. And founded the People’s Republic of China where the people become the masters of the country. They have finally found a development path of building socialism with Chinese characteristics and have been marching along this path confidently.

We have come to the conclusion after a review of the history of the past one hundred years that the Chinese people and the African people both treasure independence, love peace and long for development and that they are both important forces for world peace and common development. It is the unremitting efforts made by the people throughout the world, including the Chinese and African peoples, that forces for world peace have kept growing and the world development cause has made considerable progress.

The world today is moving towards multi-polarity and the international situation is on the whole easing off Modern science and technology driven by information technology and life science are advancing rapidly. Economic globalisation is gaining momentum. Countries in the world have engaged themselves in ever extensive and in-depth cooperation and exchanges. The lofty cause of peace and development of mankind has promised a bright prospect.

However, development in different countries is extremely uneven. Hegemonism and power politics still exist. Developing countries are still faced with an arduous task of safeguarding their sovereignty, security and interests. The gap between the North and the South is being widened not only economically, but also in science and technology. Hence, there has emerged a disturbing “digital divide” The Prolonged poverty and backwardness, Coupled with external factors, have exacerbated the otherwise latent ethnic rifts, religious feuds and social conflicts in some developing countries, led to conflicts and wars in these countries and impaired their state stability and national development.

At the root of these problems are many irrational and inequitable factors in the current international political and economic order. They are detrimental not only to world peace and development, but also to the stability and development of the vast number of developing countries.

Mankind is about to usher in a new century. It has been the demand of the times and call of the people all over the world to establish an equitable and just new international political and economic order. Let us work together with wisdom and courage to build such a new order and advance the lofty cause of peace and development for mankind.

The Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, the principles and spirit enshrined in the OAU Charter and other universally recognised norms governing international relations should form the political basis for the new international order. Furthermore, it is imperative to establish some new principles responsive to the spirit of the times and to the changes and developments in the world provided that people of all nations can reach consensus.

In the new international order, the right of all countries to sovereign equality and to freedom from outside interference in their internal affairs must be ensured to them. All countries, big or small, strong or weak, rich or poor, should respect each other’s sovereignty and independence. This is of paramount importance to world peace. They should have the right to choose their own development path and model in light of their national conditions No country should be allowed to impose its own social system or ideology on others, nor should it be allowed to made irresponsible remarks on other countries’ internal affairs. Peacekeeping operations must be based on the basic principles of getting prior consent from the parties concerned, neutrality, no use of force except for self-defense and obtaining authorization from the UN Security Council such operations must aim at maintaining peace and should not be used as a means to pursue selfish ends.

In the new international order, all countries should be ensured their right to participate in international affairs on an equal footing. It is the people of all countries who are the main players behind the world development. As such, they should participate in the management of the world .It is imperative to promote democracy in international relations, address international issues through consultation and meet the challenges facing mankind together. The movement towards political multi-polarity of the world will be conducive to the democratization of international relations. The positive role of the United Nations should be strengthened, so should the status and role of the developing countries and international and regional organizations composed of such countries.

In the new international order, the right of all countries to development based on equality, especially that of the developing countries, should be ensured. To help developing countries to boost their economy is vital to a lasting peace and common development of the world. Developed countries should effectively reduce or exempt the debts owed by developing countries, help them to enhance their capabilities for self-development and vigorously develop their human resources with a view to gradually narrowing the gap between the North and the South in economy, science and technology and other fields. They should not do nothing but seek natural resources, market and profit from the developing countries. The international community should take more aggressive and effective measures to reform the international economic, trade and financial systems so as to effectively safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries.

In the new international order, all ethnic groups and civilizations should be ensured their right to common development. The world is a colorful and diverse one. Various ethnic groups and civilizations inevitably differ from one another and each has its own advantages, given their distinctive histories, cultures and development models. This is the fundamental reason why the world is full of vitality. Only when the diversity of the world is respected can various ethnic groups and civilizations live in harmony, learn from each other and complement each other. All ethnic groups and civilizations should respect each other, treat each other as equals and pursue common progress and improvement in the spirit of seeking common ground while putting aside differences. Their differences should serve to encourage them to seek common development. Only by so doing will various civilizations in the world blossom with radiant splendor.

An equitable and just new international political and economic order cannot possibly be put in place overnight. It will take an incremental process for such a system to take shape. So long as the international community. China and Africa included, work together, a new international political and economic order responsive fully to the demands and wishes of all peoples in the world will surely be established.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Both China and Africa are the cradles of the ancient human civilizations. Their time-honored histories and cultures an important part of world civilization.

It was Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Deng Xiaoping and other Chinese leaders of the older generation and the forerunners of the African movement for national liberation who forged and nurtured this great China-Africa friendship. And the friendship between the Chinese and African peoples is based on a solid foundation. The past five decades have witnessed frequent exchange of high-level visits between China and African countries and a growing friendship between their peoples. We have always understood, respected, sympathized with and supported each other in international affairs, and carried out fruitful cooperation in the political, economic, trade, scientific, technological, cultural, educational, public health, sports, social and other fields on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. In the process of developing friendship and cooperation over the years, China and African countries have developed many important and viable principles governing international relations.

To establish a new international political and economic order and enable our future generations to live in a beautiful world. I recommend that we should make concerted efforts in the following areas:

1. Strengthen solidarity and promote South-South cooperation. South-South cooperation is an important means through which developing countries may effectively respond to the changes in the international situation and meet the challenges that may be brought about by economic globalization. It helps developing countries to give full play to their advantages in natural and human resources, tap to the full their respective productive and technological potential, take advantage of the others’ strengths to make up for their own weaknesses, and achieve common improvement. Developing countries must enhance their capacity for self-development and increase their national aggregates. This is a fundamental guarantee for accelerating their development.

2. Enhance dialogue and improve North-South relations. The development of developing countries is indispensable for world prosperity and the concerted efforts of all countries are essential to human progress. Developed countries and developing countries should conduct dialogue, eliminate prejudice, seek common ground while reserving differences and respect each other. Developed countries should take full account and care of the interests of the less privileged developing countries and increase financial investment and technology transfer to them to help build up their capacity for development. A smaller development gap and better political and economic relations between the North and the South is an important foundation for a just and equitable new international political and economic order.

3. Take part in international affairs on the basis of equality and in an enterprising spirit. China and African countries should increase consultation, coordination and cooperation on the bilateral and multilateral fronts, participate actively in the management of international affairs and formulation of international rules and promote the reform of the international political, economic, financial and trading systems. In this way, the voice of developing countries will be heard more clearly in the world, a fair international environment will be created and the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries will be effectively safeguarded.

4. Look forward into the future and establish a new long-term stable partnership of equality and mutual benefit. The establishment of stronger friendly ties and closer cooperation between China and Africa serves the interests of their peoples and conforms to the trend towards world peace and development. We will deepen our mutual understanding and trust through various forms of exchanges, especially direct contacts between top leaders of both China and African countries. We will take various measures to tap the potential and explore new ways and areas of our economic cooperation and trade so that a new pattern of China-Africa economic relations and cooperation based on mutual benefit and aimed at common development will gradually take shape. We will also give play to the initiative of all quarters, and promote an all-round friendship between us. We will make special efforts to educate our younger generations so that the traditional friendship between China and Africa will be passed on from generation to generation.

Ladies and Gentlemen:

To establish a fair and reasonable new international political and economic order is a lofty cause benefiting all mankind. Despite twists and turns on the road ahead, there are bright prospects for this cause. So long as we work together tirelessly, we will surely achieve the great goals that we have been pursuing together and accomplish the lofty cause that we have been promoting.

Thank you.

The speech was firstly published on  

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