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Commentary: Chinese FM's African tour to give fresh boost to decades-long friendship

Editor: Wang Lingxiao 丨Xinhua

01-07-2017 18:16 BJT

BEIJING, Jan. 7 (Xinhua) -- Following a nearly three-decade-long diplomatic tradition, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is making Africa his first overseas destination in 2017.

On Sunday, Wang will embark on a six-day official visit to five African countries, namely Madagascar, Zambia, Tanzania, Republic of Congo and Nigeria.

The visit is an extension of a much treasured diplomatic tradition for China. Since 1991, five foreign ministers have visited Africa during their first foreign trip each year.

The foundation of the China-Africa friendship was laid by former generations of the two countries' leaderships, who have supported and cooperated with each other during struggles against imperialism and colonialism for national independence and liberation in the 1950s and 1960s.

Since then, thousands of Chinese workers and engineers have arrived in Africa to assist in the infrastructure construction of the war-torn continent.

Major projects undertaken or sponsored by China such as the Tanzania-Zambia railway, the Friendship Harbor in Mauritania and the conference hall for the African Union in Ethiopia constitute a solid groundwork for Africa's economic development. These projects are also tokens of the China-Africa friendship.

For China, an old acquaintance is never forgotten. Relations with Africa have been deepened and broadened as the world undergoes profound changes and the Asian country grows into the world's second-largest economy.

In a reflection of the two sides' modern efforts to forge a community of common destiny, China and Africa have been cooperating on new, high-tech projects including the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway, the first electrified railway in Africa, and the 680-meter-long Nyerere Bridge in Tanzania, the first of its kind in East and Central Africa.

Chinese President Xi Jinping rolled out 10 major plans to boost his country's cooperation with Africa based on principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith in a keynote speech at the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in Johannesburg in 2015.

The big package covers the areas of industrialization, agricultural modernization, infrastructure, financial services, green development, trade and investment facilitation, poverty reduction and public welfare, public health, people-to-people exchanges, and peace and security.

A batch of early successes related to the summit were achieved in 2016, including the opening of the Addis Ababa-Djibouti railway and progress on the Mombasa-Nairobi line, as well as the development of industrial parks and special economic zones.

During the visit, Wang will discuss the further implementation of Xi's consensus with African leaders and the outcomes of the forum to help the revival of Africa.

"China hopes to comprehensively upgrade cooperation with Africa in 2017," Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang announced at a news briefing ahead of the visit.

The visit will also help enhance solidarity and common development among developing countries, Geng added.

Africa is home to the most developing countries in the world. China's decades-long interaction with the continent testifies to the country's determination, as a major player on the world arena, to promote a fairer and more rational global governance system.

In that sense, China-Africa cooperation means more than growth and prosperity. It benefits the whole world in the long run by helping create a fairer, more balanced and harmonious world order.

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