OPINION / VIEWPOINT
Wang’s visit reflects China-Africa amity
Published: Jan 05, 2021 07:13 PM

China-Africa ties Illustration: Liu Rui/GT

Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi kicked off his official visit to five African countries on Monday. This follows a 31-year tradition where China's foreign ministers make Africa as their first destination every new year. 

This year's visit is particularly special amid the raging COVID-19 pandemic. Continuing to deepen their ties, China and Africa can expect steady progress with fruitful outcomes in 2021.

The year 2020 was an unusual year. COVID-19 raged globally, testing the ability and resilience of all countries to cope with this sudden crisis. China and Africa have adhered to traditional friendships, sharing weal and woe to fight the deadly disease. 

In the early days of the coronavirus outbreak in China, African countries donated money and goods to the best of their ability and gave great support to the Chinese government and people. 

When this insidious virus began spreading in Africa, the Chinese government, as well as enterprises and non-governmental organizations, took the lead to provide assistance and the timely delivery of medical supplies across Africa in turn. 

At the 73rd World Health Assembly in May 2020 and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 in June 2020, China put forward a number of measures to support Africa's fight against COVID-19. Many are now being implemented. For example, the headquarters building of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention was officially launched in mid-December 2020.

But as China and Africa work together to fight against the pandemic, a few Western countries are wringing their hands. A few US politicians have made false statements, politicized the coronavirus pandemic, and maliciously hyped up the epidemic prevention measures involved with African people in South China's Guangzhou.

However, facts prove that vicious slanders will not destroy the friendship between China and Africa. 

Quite the opposite, the two sides' amity has become ever more indestructible. As the pandemic continues to rage in Africa, the Chinese foreign minister's adherence to the tradition of visiting Africa at the beginning of every of year is the best proof.

The five countries Wang visits this time have different in characteristics. Nigeria has the largest population and economy in Africa. It is also China's largest contract market and second largest trading partner in Africa. Meanwhile, this year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Nigeria. 

As the largest country in sub-Saharan Africa, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has maintained close cooperation with China in terms of energy, mining and industry. Wang's visit will play a positive role for the two sides to get to know each other's needs for bilateral cooperation and to boost their political mutual trust. 

Tanzania and China enjoy a special traditional friendship. The Tanzania-Zambia Railway is an important symbol and is well-known among people from the two countries. 

Botswana has also witnessed a stable political environment and rapid economic development in recent years. China and Botswana have carried out fruitful and pragmatic cooperation in various fields, which has become a model of China-Africa cooperation. The Seychelles is one of the first countries where Chinese people set roots in Africa. 

China has made concrete commitments to support Africa's coronavirus battle. The two sides' joint efforts on vaccines will bring hope to the continent to rein in the virus as soon as possible so economy can again flourish. 

Meanwhile, economic collaboration under the framework of the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative is going back on track. 

Whereas the current US administration has neglected Africa's development interests and treated the continent as a contending field against China, many are wondering: What will China-US interactions on the African continent be like after Joe Biden is sworn in? China and the US once cooperated to fight the Ebola epidemic in West Africa. Their benign competition and cooperation on the continent in the future will be eye-catching. The year 2021 marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of China's lawful seat at the UN and the 20th anniversary of its accession to the WTO. It is believed that China and Africa will make further efforts to safeguard the collective interests of developing countries and defend multilateralism. 

The author is assistant research fellow at institute of African Studies, China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations. opinion@globaltimes.com.cn
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