|When Brothers Are of One Heart and One Mind, They Have the Strength to Break Metal|
Remarks at Africa Day Reception
Your Excellency Mr. Demeke Mekonnen Hassen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Ethiopia,
I am very happy to attend today’s reception, and join our African friends to celebrate the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU). On behalf of the Chinese government, I wish to extend warm greetings to you all, and thank you for your long, active contributions to China-Africa friendship and cooperation.
On this day 60 years ago, the OAU was founded. This is an epoch-making event in the history of Africa, and the start of a new chapter of African countries seeking strength and development through unity. At the turn of the century, the African Union (AU) took over the baton, and led African countries forward with bigger strides toward development and revitalization. With continued rise in its international status, Africa has become an important force with global influence.
The past 60 years have also been a time when China and Africa offered each other support, sharing weal and woe. From struggles for national liberation to explorations for paths to modernization, from combating Ebola to fighting COVID-19, no matter how the international situation evolves, China has always been there for Africa. In particular, over the last decade, guided by the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and of pursuing the greater good and shared interests in developing China’s relations with Africa put forth by President Xi Jinping, China-Africa relations have been growing with the “acceleration button” on, and entered a fast track toward a new era of a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.
Sixty years on, China and Africa enjoy closer friendly exchanges, and our leaders visit each other as often as relatives do. In the past decade, President Xi Jinping visited Africa four times, and two summits of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation were held. In the last six months alone, four African presidents paid state visits to China, and since the beginning of this year, more than ten African officials above the ministerial level have visited China. The Africa-China Poverty Reduction and Development Conference and the China-Africa Youth Festival were held. The spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation is as alive as ever across the vast lands of China and Africa.
Sixty years on, China and Africa enjoy ever-deepening win-win cooperation, delivering more benefits to our people. China has remained Africa’s largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years. We have together constructed and commissioned over 10,000 km of railway, nearly 100,000 km of highway, and an array of important infrastructure including airports, docks, bridges and power plants. Early this year, I attended the completion ceremony of the China-aided project of Africa CDC with AUC Chairperson Moussa Faki Mahamat, witnessing a new landmark of our high-quality, practical cooperation to the benefit of the people. These concrete deliverables have greatly promoted economic and social development and improved people’s livelihood in Africa.
Sixty years on, China and Africa enjoy stronger coordination on international affairs, serving as an important force for international fairness and justice. Together, we champion multilateralism and uphold the purposes and principles of the UN Charter. China is a longstanding supporter of the leading role of the AU and Africa’s subregional organizations in resolving regional conflicts, and supports the African people in solving African issues in the African way. China has always supported Africa in playing a bigger role on the world stage, spoken up for Africa at the United Nations and on other multilateral occasions, and is the first country to explicitly support the AU in joining the G20.
Both China and Africa are standing at a new historical starting point and embracing important new opportunities. The 20th CPC National Congress held last year drew up the blueprint for China’s future development, and laid out the task of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects by the middle of this century and advancing the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization. Chinese modernization has debunked the myth that modernization equals westernization, expanded options for developing countries in pursuing modernization, and provided a Chinese solution to humanity’s quest for a better social system. With the modernization of over 1.4 billion Chinese people through peaceful development, China is bound to give a stronger impetus and more opportunities to the growth of the African and global economies.
Meanwhile, our world today is far from tranquil. The global economy is going through a treacherous recovery. The development gap is widening. To keep its hegemonic position, a certain country is stoking division and confrontation, and fabricated lies and false narratives of the so-called “debt trap”, “neocolonialism” and “democracy vs. autocracy” to smear and obstruct China-Africa cooperation.
Being the world’s largest developing country and the continent home to most developing countries, China and Africa need solidarity and cooperation more than ever. The closer China-Africa relations are, the stronger the protection for world peace. The more successful China-Africa cooperation is, the greater the hope for global development. Here, I wish to make the following proposals.
We wish to work with Africa to safeguard each other’s legitimate and lawful rights and interests. China firmly opposes external interference in the internal affairs of African countries, and opposes stirring up confrontation and conflict in Africa. We support Africa in meeting the security, development and governance challenges in its own way, and will promote the Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa. We appreciate Africa’s commitment to its just position and to the one China principle. We are prepared to further strengthen mutual support with Africa on issues concerning each other’s sovereignty, development and dignity.
We wish to work with Africa to advance our respective modernization with distinctive features. China will share all its experience in pursuing the Chinese path to modernization, support Africa in following an independent and distinctive path of development, and synergize the Belt and Road Initiative and the Global Development Initiative put forth by President Xi Jinping with the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of African countries. China will work for faster delivery of the outcomes of the FOCAC Dakar conference, further mobilize sub-national and private-sector cooperation with Africa, and do more to help Africa accelerate industrialization, localization and economic diversification.
We wish to work with Africa to push forward the reform of the global governance system. China will step up prompt strategic communication with Africa on major regional and international issues, and firmly support Africa’s just positions. We will work with Africa to translate our shared aspirations into collective actions, and jointly defend the common interests of developing countries. China will give full support to South Africa in hosting this year’s BRICS summit and continue to encourage the G20 to bring the AU in as an equal member, to gather stronger forces for the unity and revitalization of the developing world.
We wish to work with Africa to pursue common security. China will keep to the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security, and work with Africa to implement the Global Security Initiative put forth by President Xi Jinping, help de-escalate the hotspot issues in Africa and the world, and promote global responses to non-traditional security challenges from food and energy security, climate change, natural disasters and infectious diseases. China supports improving the UN operations for peace and stability in Africa, and enhancing Africa’s capacity for countering terrorism and maintaining stability.
We wish to work with Africa to further strengthen exchanges and mutual learning between civilizations. China and Africa both have a splendid civilization. Our two sides should continue to stimulate public interest in people-to-people exchanges, deepen cultural interactions, and foster new bonds connecting the hearts of our peoples. We need to support stronger exchanges and cooperation between our think tanks, media, private organizations, youth and women, and speed up cooperation in Africa under the Global Civilization Initiative put forth by President Xi Jinping, to add vibrancy to the Chinese and African civilizations.
As the saying goes, when brothers are of one heart and one mind, they have the strength to break metal. The brotherly friendship between China and Africa has been tempered in struggle and tested by time. No force can break or sever this bond. In the new era, China will continue to forge ahead hand in hand with our African friends to build a high-level China-Africa community with a shared future and bring in an even brighter future of China-Africa relations!
Happy Africa Day to all African friends!
Long live China-Africa friendship!