Keynote Speech by H.E. Wang Yi
State Councilor and Foreign Minister of
The People's Republic of China
At the Opening Ceremony of the Coordinators' Meeting on
The Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of
The Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation
Beijing, 25 June 2019
Your Excellency President Yoweri Museveni,
It gives me great pleasure to attend the opening ceremony of the Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. It is such a delight to once again meet with so many old and good friends from Africa who have come all the way to Beijing for this event.
H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People's Republic of China, attaches great importance to this meeting and has sent a congratulatory message. It is my honor to read the message from President Xi as follows:
On the occasion of the opening of the Coordinators' Meeting on the Implementation of the Follow-up Actions of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, I would like to extend warm congratulations and brotherly greetings to leaders of the African members of FOCAC and the African Union (AU).
The FOCAC Beijing Summit successfully held last September stands as a milestone in the history of China-Africa relations. Chinese and African leaders agreed, at the Summit, to synergize their Belt and Road cooperation with the AU's Agenda 2063 and the development strategies of individual African countries, to build a China-Africa community with a shared future that features joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, common cultural prosperity, common security, and harmonious co-existence, and to jointly deliver on the eight major initiatives for China-Africa cooperation, thus drawing up a new blueprint for taking China-Africa relations to greater heights. I am delighted to see that our two sides have been working together actively to follow through on the outcomes of the Summit, and have produced a number of satisfying "early harvests" that have brought tangible benefits to the Chinese and African people.
The world today is marked by changes unseen in a century and the collective rise of developing countries. Cooperation between China and Africa and our shared development will contribute significantly to building the strength of developing countries and to fostering a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind. I hope our two sides, guided by the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, will seize this Coordinators' Meeting as a new opportunity to increase communication and synergy, deepen unity and cooperation, and strive for concrete progress in the implementation of the follow-up actions of the Beijing Summit and in Belt and Road cooperation, thus enhancing the wellbeing of the 2.6 billion Chinese and African people, and contributing to an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future.
I wish this Coordinators' Meeting a great success.
President of the People's Republic of China
Beijing, 25 June 2019
This congratulatory message from President Xi speaks volumes about the profound friendship cherished by President Xi toward countries and peoples in Africa, and demonstrates the Chinese government's strong desire to take forward its friendship and cooperation with Africa. This message clearly spelt out what we should achieve at the meeting, and pointed the way forward for both sides to promote the long-term development of China-Africa relations.
African Brothers and Sisters,
Thanks to our joint efforts, the FOCAC Beijing Summit held last September was a great success, ushering the China-Africa relationship into a new era of comprehensive strategic partnership. At this new historical starting point, we must follow up on the summit outcomes across the board and work toward a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future. This is what the 2.6 billion Chinese and African people aspire for; it is a lofty mission that we, China and Africa, must fulfill together.
Last year's successful summit has given rise to a new boom in China-Africa exchanges and cooperation. The implementation of the summit outcomes is in full swing. High-level engagement has never been closer, with 17 state and party leaders from the Chinese side visiting 25 African countries and the AU Headquarters. We now enjoy enhanced mutual political trust, deepened exchanges on governance and closer communication and coordination on international affairs. Collaboration on the Belt and Road Initiative is gathering pace, with cooperation documents signed between China and 40 African countries and the AU Commission. The Dialogue on the Implementation of China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative was held and the China-Africa Institute inaugurated.
The implementation of the eight major initiatives for China-Africa cooperation is off to a good start. In light of our respective capabilities and Africa's practical needs, we have jointly formulated country-specific lists, according to which more than 880 projects will be carried out in the coming three years. Major projects supported by grants or concessional loans from China are making steady progress. Last year, two-way trade again exceeded US$200 billion, making China Africa's largest trading partner for the tenth straight year.
It is heartening to see that the follow-up actions have produced early and high-quality results overall, and made a visible difference for the livelihood of local communities. As such, they have been widely welcomed by African countries.
African Brothers and Sisters,
We live at a time when changes unseen in a century are taking place. One of the defining changes has been the fact that a large number of developing countries, including China and African countries, have entered the historical phase of fast development. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China. The Communist Party of China, after seven decades of arduous struggle, has successfully embarked on a path of socialism with Chinese characteristics and achieved enormous national development. Today, under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era, we in China will stay committed to our original aspirations, and continue to strive for the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation. In doing so, we will keep to the path of peaceful development, deepen reforms, expand opening-up and pursue high-quality Belt and Road cooperation with a view to promoting a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind.
I wish to underscore here to our African friends that no matter how the international situation evolves, we in China will continue to follow the principles advocated by President Xi, namely the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and that of pursuing the greater good and shared interests. We will stand unswervingly with Africa and other developing countries to safeguard the common interests of African and other developing countries.
China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future. We share similar sufferings and struggle in our histories, and are faced with the same tasks of development. We fought together for national liberation and political independence. We joined hands in developing our countries and achieving independent development. We cherish the same vision for a multipolar world and greater democracy in international relations. China-Africa cooperation is a manifestation of mutual understanding between brothers and mutual support between friends, and sets a fine example as a pioneer of South-South cooperation. China values its relations with Africa; it respects and supports Africa. China never goes after selfish geo-political gains in Africa, and never imposes its own will on others. China's approach to cooperation with Africa has been entirely different from that of traditional powers.
For some time, however, some outside forces have attempted to vilify and undermine China-Africa cooperation by fabricating the so-called "neo-colonialism" and "debt trap". This is totally groundless, and has been utterly rejected by the African people. Such attempts expose a total lack of respect for Africa, lack of understanding about China, and absence of knowledge about the time-tested, genuine friendship between China and Africa. We believe that facts speak louder than words, and justice lies in everyone's heart. It is the Chinese and African peoples that are in the best position to tell whether China-Africa cooperation is beneficial.
African Brothers and Sisters,
For China-Africa cooperation in the new era, a blueprint has been drawn and it now all comes down to implementation. China will work with Africa to deliver on its commitment with concrete and effective actions, and fully and effectively implement the agreements and outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit. Over the past three days, I met separately and had detailed discussions with each and every one of the over 20 African foreign ministers attending the Coordinators' Meeting. We reached important consensus in the following four areas:
First, we need to keep to the fundamental direction of building a China-Africa community with a shared future. China and Africa need to maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, enhance experience sharing on governance and elevate the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership to a new level. China will firmly support African countries in upholding sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, exploring the development path suited to their national conditions, and safeguarding peace and stability in the region. And China supports the efforts of the AU to seek greater strength through unity. China will work with our African brothers in a pioneering effort of building a community with a shared future for mankind, and provide new impetus to global peace and development.
Second, we need to remain committed to jointly developing the Belt and Road Initiative. The second Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, successfully held in Beijing in April this year, has set out the direction for high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. China will follow the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, strengthen the synergy between the Belt and Road Initiative, the eight major initiatives and the development strategies of African countries, and channel more resources of Belt and Road cooperation to Africa. We need to further tap the market potential and share development opportunities with each other. This will help Africa convert its resource endowments into development strengths to achieve true economic independence after winning political independence. We need to take forward project cooperation based on market principles to ensure real economic and social benefits. We need to effectively advance the feasibility study, planning, execution and operation of projects to make sure that they truly improve African countries' capacity for self-driven and sustainable development. We need to solidify the intellectual foundation, learn from each other, and support Africa in training more professionals. We need to pursue cooperation in emerging sectors and embrace the technological revolution so that African people will also benefit from the latest achievements of human progress.
Third, we need to uphold the just cause of multilateralism. Against the backdrop of rising unilateralism and protectionism, resurgent Cold-War mentality and talk of clash of civilizations, we, China and Africa, need to unequivocally uphold the UN Charter and the basic norms governing international relations, and take a clear stand against unilateralism, protectionism and bullyism in all manifestations. By doing so, we will be safeguarding not only our own legitimate development rights, but also the common interests of all developing countries and emerging economies, and, for that matter, we will be upholding international fairness and justice. We must never allow the law of the jungle to rule the world, nor should we accept the zero-sum game that puts the weak at the mercy of the strong. Our world in the 21st century must march forward with courage rather than move backward. All countries living in this global village need to work together like passengers in the same boat, rather than sail against the current of our times.
Fourth, we need to promote the spirit of equal and open cooperation. Colonization has been ended once and for all. Africa belongs to the people of Africa. The African continent is the common homeland for the 1.3 billion African people, not a sphere of influence for any major country. We call on all countries to engage and embrace Africa on the basis of equality and with an open mind. China-Africa cooperation, as part of the international cooperation with Africa, not only contributes to the common development of China and Africa, but also catalyzes greater international cooperation with Africa. By leveraging such catalytic role of its cooperation with Africa, China will encourage other members of the international community to increase investment in Africa. China will also work with other countries to pool our strengths to help African countries fasten development and rejuvenation, and make life more colorful and rewarding for the African people.
African Brothers and Sisters,
All countries are entitled to development and progress, a right that both the Chinese and African peoples are exercising in our abiding pursuit of the Chinese Dream and the African Dream with our own efforts and through international cooperation. At the FOCAC Beijing Summit, President Xi Jinping articulated the principles guiding China's cooperation and relations with Africa. A "four-uphold" approach in pursuing cooperation with Africa: uphold sincerity, friendship and equality, uphold common interests while putting friendship first, uphold a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical cooperation with efficiency, and uphold openness and inclusiveness. And a "five-no" approach in our relations with Africa: no interference in African countries' pursuit of development path that fits their national conditions; no interference in African countries' internal affairs; no imposition of our will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa.
These principles represent a rock-solid promise that we intend to keep with concrete effort. No interference will weaken our resolve to strengthen cooperation with Africa, nor will any obstacle stop China and Africa from working together for rejuvenation.
Last but not least, over the past two days, nearly every African foreign minister I met congratulated China on the successful election of Dr. Qu Dongyu as Director-General of the FAO. They were so happy and excited as if a member of their family had been elected. China understands that its success is attributable to the support of other countries, and in particular, the most staunch support from Africa. I wish to take this opportunity to express my most sincere thanks to all of you and to all our African brothers and sisters. From now on, there will be one more good friend of Africa in the UN agencies. As Director-General, Dr. Qu will surely serve the global agenda of the FAO. At the same time, the fact that he comes from the largest developing country, a country that understands Africa, has given us confidence that the FAO will make even greater contribution to helping Africa achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and address its challenges on food security and agricultural development.
In conclusion, I wish this meeting a full success.