FM’s visit reaffirms Africa development ties

By Wang Zefei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/1/8 17:23:40

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi delivers speech during the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation at the Diaoyutai State Guesthouse in Beijing on June 25, 2019. File photo: IC

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi is visiting Egypt, Djibouti, Eritrea, Burundi and Zimbabwe from Tuesday to Monday as part of a Chinese new year diplomatic tradition that goes back 30 years. 

In January 1991, then Chinese vice premier and foreign minister Qian Qichen visited four East African nations and started friendly interactions with the continent. At that time, both China and Africa were facing the impact of the revolutionary wave in the late 1980s and early 1990s in Central and Eastern Europe, the end of the Cold War and the changes in the international landscape. Western countries were forcefully promoting multi-party systems in Africa, with their investment in the continent dropping rapidly. 

It is against this backdrop that African countries cast their eyes on China, hoping to learn from the Asian power's spirit of independence, as well as reform and opening-up. Since then, mutual assistance and collaboration have become the common wish of people on both sides, as well as the eternal theme of China-Africa relations. 

In the past 30 years, no matter what development China has achieved, it has always linked its destiny to that of African countries. In 2000, China and Africa jointly established the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). Ties between the two sides later entered a fast track of comprehensive development. The FOCAC summit held in Johannesburg, South Africa in 2015 and the one in Beijing in 2018 achieved great success. Especially after the forum in Beijing, China-Africa cooperation has witnessed remarkable progress in various fields, including politics, economy, trade, culture and security. 

In October 2019, the first phase of a China-built standard gauge railway linking Nairobi and Malaba, a small Kenyan town bordering Uganda, was completed and welcomed its first passengers. 

In August 2019, a Chinese-built new container terminal located in the port town of Walvis Bay, Namibia, was inaugurated. In major Chinese cities, quality agricultural products and handicrafts from Africa have enriched the lives of Chinese people. 

Some Westerners have been slandering the China-initiated Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) as a so-called threat and trap. But African countries know it well that the BRI is an express train of development that cannot be missed. It is a driving force of independent sustainable development. 

While some forces refuse to give up playing geopolitical games in Africa, China has been sincerely promoting the continent's development, cooperating with regional countries with an open and inclusive attitude. China-Africa cooperation is pragmatic and efficient, and is now at the forefront of international cooperation with the continent.

The Chinese foreign minister's visit to Africa at the beginning of every year is unmatched by any other non-African major power. This resembles visits between relatives. 

The year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC. The implementation of agreements reached during the Beijing summit has also come at a critical stage.

Against the background of the complicated and constantly evolving international situation, Wang's latest visit will promote collaboration. It will also demonstrate to the international community that China's stance and moves in supporting Africa's development and progress will neither waver nor change. 

The author is an observer of international issues.

Posted in: VIEWPOINT

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