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A Fruitful Journey of Friendship and Cooperation – Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi Talks About President Hu Jintao's Visits to the Five Asian and African Nations


From Feb 10 to 17, 2009, Chinese President Hu Jintao paid state visits to Saudi Arabia, Mali, Senegal, Tanzania, and Mauritius. Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, who accompanied President Hu during those events, introduced the achievements of President Hu's visits to the accompanying journalists on the way back to China after President Hu concluded his five-nation tour.

Yang Jiechi said that President Hu Jintao's tour to the five Asian and African countries in the beginning of the Chinese lunar new year was a successful journey of friendship and cooperation as it fulfilled the goals of consolidating friendship, deepening cooperation and reinforcing the will to face challenges together and achieve common development.

Yang said that President Hu's visits, a significant diplomatic move taken by China to boost its ties with developing nations, were made at a time when international political and economic situations are undergoing profound changes, when the international financial crisis continues to spread and imposed a negative influence on developing countries, and when the implementation of the outcome of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation comes to the last year. During the short seven days, President Hu visited 5 nations in Asia and Africa and attended more than 50 events. During the visits, the governments and people of host countries accorded President Hu the highest courtesy and the warmest reception. He held talks and meetings with the leaders of those countries concerning cooperation and development. He also had extensive contacts with people from all walks of life, interacted with them and shared cordial sentiments of friendship with them. Both the media of host countries and the rest of the world paid close attention to President Hu's visits and followed up on the tour in an objective and positive tone.

The tour consolidated and deepened the friendly and cooperative relations between China and those Asian and African countries and solidified the friendship between the Chinese people and their counterparts in developing countries. The tour made fruitful achievements, which can be embodied in the following four aspects:

I. A new consensus was reached on jointly dealing with the challenges of the international financial crisis.

Yang said that President Hu's visits to the five Asian and African nations were made at a time when the impacts of the international financial crisis are gradually expanding and spreading from developed countries to emerging markets and developing nations and from the financial sector to the real economy. Developing nations including China, Saudi Arabia and African countries are facing increasingly greater challenges.

During his visits, President Hu expounded on China's views and propositions on how to tackle the international financial crisis, stressing the need for the international community to pay attention to and try to minimize the damages caused by the crisis to the developing world, especially the least developed countries. Hu expressed China's will to strengthen cooperation and coordinate actions with the international community. Hu extended support for increasing the representation and voice of the vast number of developing countries in reforming the international financial system and called on the international community to take substantial measures to help developing countries, especially the African countries, overcome the difficulties. With respect to the concerns whether China will reduce the assistance to Africa, President Hu solemnly pledged that China, though having a tough time, would fulfill policies and measures identified at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, continue to increase assistance and offer debt relief to African countries within its capability, expand trade and investment to Africa, and solidify pragmatic cooperation between China and Africa. Hu emphasized that the tougher the situation is, the more China and Africa should support and cooperate with each other to get over the difficulties. The leaders of host countries highly appreciated and warmly welcomed China's propositions and considered them conducive to strengthening coordination and cooperation among developing countries and building up their confidence in jointly addressing the international financial crisis.

II. The ties between China and those Asian and African nations were upgraded to a new level.

Yang Jiechi said that the five countries President Hu visited were all very friendly to China and both sides enjoyed a solid political foundation to further promote bilateral relations. During his trip, President Hu and the leaders of the five countries held discussions and reached broad consensuses on such significant issues as further boosting friendly cooperation, implementing measures identified at the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, and deepening the new type of strategic partnership between China and Africa.

During the visit to Saudi Arabia, President Hu Jintao held talks with Saudi Arabian King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz and met with Abdul Rahman Al-Attiyah, Secretary General of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), proposing guiding principles and measures on further consolidating and strengthening the strategic relationship of friendship between China and Saudi Arabia, comprehensively promoting the all-round pragmatic cooperation, and deepening the collective cooperation between China and the Gulf Cooperation Council.

During the visit to Mali, President Hu Jintao held talks with Malian President Amadou Toumany Toure, and met with President of the Malian National Assembly Dioncounda Traore. The two sides reached broad consensuses on a number of issues such as further developing the traditional friendly relations and implementing the outcome of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.

During the visit to Senegal, President Hu Jintao held talks with President Abdoulaye Wade and met with the Senate Speaker and President of the National Assembly of Senegal. The two sides expressed satisfaction with the rapid development of bilateral relations since the resumption of diplomatic relations between the two countries. President Hu's visit further enhanced the understanding and friendship between the people of the two countries and illuminated the direction for the in-depth growth of bilateral relations.

During his visit to Tanzania, President Hu Jintao held talks with Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete and met with Zanzibar President Amani Abeid Karume. The two sides spoke highly of the all-weather friendly relations and expressed the will to further consolidate the traditional China-Tanzania friendship, deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields and upgrade the friendly and cooperative relations to a new level.

During the visit to Mauritius, President Hu Jintao held talks with Prime Minister Navinchandra Ramgoolam and met with President Anerood Jugnauth and Paul Berenger, leader of the Mauritian Militant Movement (MMM) party. The two sides reviewed the traditional friendship between China and Mauritius and expressed the will to work together to expand areas of cooperation, enrich contents of cooperation and promote the further growth of friendly and cooperative ties.

President Hu and the leaders of the five host countries exchanged in-depth views on the current situation in the Middle East and Africa as well as other regional and international issues. Hu said that China, as a developing country, is willing to strengthen cooperation and coordination with the five countries in the international arena so as to jointly safeguard the rights and interests of developing countries and jointly promote South-South cooperation and North-South dialogues.

President Hu Jintao's five-nation tour included four African countries. In his speech in Tanzania, President Hu expounded on the six propositions to develop China-Africa relations in the new situation and stressed that the Chinese people cherish their traditional friendship with Africa in the past, now and in the future, will always take the African people as completely trustworthy and all-weathered friends and is willing to be good brothers and good partners of the African people forever. China is ready to work together with Africa to push forward the new strategic partnership between China and Africa. The African countries attached great importance to and spoke highly of the important propositions put forward by President Hu. The leaders of the four African countries said that the Africa-China relationship is a good example of friendly cooperation. Africa is willing to work with China to strengthen friendly cooperation and jointly promote the further development of bilateral relations.

III. New progress was made with the pragmatic cooperation on the basis of mutual benefit and win-win results.

Yang said that the five countries President Hu visited are all developing countries. Through the visits, the cooperation between China and these countries in various fields is furthered deepened. During the visits, China and the five countries signed over 20 cooperation documents covering economy, trade, investment, energy, quality inspection, health, culture, infrastructure development and other fields and deepened and widened the pragmatic cooperation between the two sides.

During the four-nation tour to Africa, President Hu said that China will continue to implement cooperation projects that have been identified and would strengthen cooperation with Africa in agriculture, textile and infrastructure development in line with the principles of mutual benefits, win-win results, and complementary advantages. China will continue to encourage and support competitive Chinese enterprises to invest in Africa. President Hu visited some China-aided projects, as part of follow-up actions to the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. These projects related to the improvement of people's livelihood in Africa. They will help to improve local people's living standards and enhance Africa's self-development capacity. President Hu Jintao attended the inauguration ceremony of the third bridge in Bamako, the board-unveiling ceremony for China - Mali Malaria Prevention and Treatment Center, and the completion ceremony of the National Stadium of Tanzania, and visited the Chinese Cultural Center in Mauritius. President Hu also put forward new initiatives on strengthening the cooperation with Africa, such as providing more training opportunities and scholarships to the four countries. In Saudi Arabia, President Hu visited the Riyadh Cement's Production Line and the King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology.

Yang Jiechi said that China has long been committed to developing the all-round friendly relations with the four African countries and has rendered disinterested assistance to Africa. During Hu's visits, China reached consensus with the four African countries on many issues including how to enhance bilateral trade and deepen pragmatic cooperation. This has fully demonstrated that China-Africa cooperation is all-round, multi-faceted, and long-term oriented, is based on equality, mutual benefits, reciprocity and win-win results, and enjoys great potentials and broad prospects.

IV. New highlights were created for the friendly exchanges between the people.

Yang said there were constant highlights during President Hu Jintao's visits, an indication that the friendship between China and the five countries is deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. The people in the five countries have long expected President Hu's visits. President Hu was warmly welcomed and received by the local people during his visits.  President Hu also reached out to the local people. At airports, meeting venues, stadiums, construction sites, hospitals and even classrooms, he talked with the local people from various walks of life in a cordial and friendly manner. There were many touching scenes. Despite a very tight schedule, President Hu Jintao would spare some time to meet with the media in every country to convey the blessings of the Chinese people to the local people and sow the seeds of friendship.

In Riyadh, capital of Saudi Arabia, President Hu Jintao and King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz met with the members of the Chinese children's delegation and took a group photo with them. In the Malian capital of Bamako, tens of thousands of local people, from the Independence Monument all the way to Hu's downtown hotel, waved the national flags of both countries and acclaimed "Thank You China" and "Long Live China-Mali Friendship" to express their welcome to President Hu and their profound friendship to the people of China. In Dakar, capital of Senegal, tens of thousands of people singing and dancing on both sides of President Hu Jintao's team, lined the streets to welcome President Hu Jintao. At the completion ceremony of the National Stadium of Tanzania in the Tanzanian capital of Dar es Salaam, hundreds of teenagers performed Chinese martial arts and acrobatics that they learned from the Chinese teachers and sang Chinese folk songs such as "Na Ni Wan". More than 6,000 enthusiastic spectators cheered jubilantly at the scene to express their sincere gratitude to China. In Port Louis, capital of Mauritius, the local students studying at the Chinese cultural center displayed what they learned to President Hu, such as the Chinese language, martial arts and Chinese dances. Chinese President Hu Jintao had cordial talks with them. The scene was filled with a warm atmosphere. This is a vivid reflection that the cultural exchanges between China and Mauritius are deeply rooted in people's hearts.

President Hu was very concerned about China's aid workers in Africa. President Hu Jintao visited the members of the Chinese medical team in Mali, asking about their daily work and life and encouraging them to promote Mali's medical and healthcare undertakings and contribute to the friendship between the people of the two countries. In Tanzania, President Hu made a special trip to pay tribute to a cemetery for Chinese experts and placed a wreath in commemoration of the martyrs who sacrificed their lives for the cause of China-Africa friendship.

During his visits, President Hu Jintao also visited the embassy staff, representatives of the Chinese institutions, representatives of overseas Chinese and made important speeches, introducing China's recent developments and the achievements of his visits and encouraging them to make greater contributions to promoting the friendly relations between China and the five countries.

Yang Jiechi concluded that President Hu Jintao's trip to the five Asian and African countries is of great significance to further advancing the friendly relations between China and Saudi Arabia and between China and Africa and enhancing the solidarity and cooperation with developing countries to stand hand-in-hand to address the challenges.

(From www.mfa.gov.cn)

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