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Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan held Banquet for African Foreign Ministers

On November 14, Foreign Minister Tang Jiaxuan held a banquet for some of the African foreign ministers, who were attending the 56th session of the UN General Assembly. The two sides exchanged views on China-Africa relations and on the issues of development and anti-terrorism.

Tang spoke highly of the current China-Africa relations. He said that there have been frequent exchanges of visits and increasing cooperation between China and Africa this year. The China-Africa Cooperation Forum has opened the door for collective dialogue between China and African countries, and its follow-up actions are progressing smoothly. Cooperation in the fields of debts reduction, investment, human resources development is being implemented. An annual meeting of the Forum will be held in Ethiopia in 2003. It is believed that the forum will achieve better results and become an effective mechanism of China-Africa friendship and long-term cooperation.

Tang said that China is happy to note that Africa has achieved great progress in unity and self-strength recently, established the African union, and adopted the New Africa Initiative. It shows that the vast majority of African countries have firmed up its confidence to consolidate unity and self-strength in the new century, and shown to the international community its strong aspirations to rely on its own strength, strengthen international cooperation, integrate into the rest of the world, and achieve common development. The Chinese side will provide full support as always, strengthen cooperation with Africa in multilateral and bilateral fields, and push the international community to pay more attention to and step up its assistance to Africa.

Tang said that the anti-terrorist issue is a very acute problem at this year's session of the UN General Assembly. Fighting terrorism should combine various measures. We should attack the problem on several fronts and eliminate its root cause. We should work to solve the development issue and seek common development of all. China is ready to work with African countries to maintain contacts and consultations, strengthen South-South cooperation and jointly maintain world peace and security.

The African foreign ministers attending the banquet said that Africa cherishes its friendly relations with China. Africa and China have always assisted each other on many issues. Africa and China share similar experiences in history and are now faced with the same task of development. The foreign ministers pointed out that Africa is at present undertaking the "second liberation" to shake off poverty. China is now reaching out to help Africa with all its sincerity.

Tang said that China will never forget the unremitting efforts made by African friends for China's resumption of its legitimate seat in the UN, nor their support of China on the Taiwan and human rights issues. Though China and Africa are separated by far, the hearts are close. Since the last decade or so, Africa has always been the first stop of the annual visits abroad by Chinese foreign ministers, which is now a tradition for China's diplomacy. Tang said China will forever keep this practice.
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