On the afternoon of June 9, 2006, Assistant Foreign Minister He Yafei, at the invitation of the International Press Center, gave a briefing for domestic and international journalists as well as the information officers from foreign embassies in China, introducing Premier Wen Jiabao’s upcoming visit to Egypt, Ghana, Congo (Brazzaville), Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda. Deputy Director General of the Information Department Qin Gang hosted the briefing.
He Yafei said that with 53 countries, over 800 million of population and 30.2 million of square meters of area Africa is the continent which has the largest number of developing countries. In history, most African countries experienced colonial rule. With the relentless efforts and fight of the African people, the continent ultimately completed the mission of non-colonization at the end of last century. In recent years, the African countries have strengthened solidarity and independence. Taking “African recovery” as a new historical mission, it has made active efforts to solve its regional conflicts and formulated and implemented “the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)”, with encouraging fruits in maintaining political stability and economic development being achieved. Africa has become an important force for peace and development in the world.
He noted that the Chinese people and the African people enjoy a long history of friendly exchanges. The establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Egypt in 1956 marked a new chapter in China-Africa relations. Over the past 50 years, China and Africa shared mutual sympathy and support and their friendly and cooperative relations kept advancing. In recent years, China-Africa relations have made new progress and cooperation in various fields achieved fruitful results. In 1956, the trade volume between China and Africa was only US$12 million, but in 2005 it soared to US$39.7 billion. By 2005 China’s direct investment in Africa has accumulated to US$1.18 billion, with more than 800 Chinese enterprises doing business in Africa. China provides various kinds of assistance to Africa and undertakes over 900 projects there of which the Tanzania-Zambia Railway has become a monument of China-Africa friendship. China-Africa cooperation in such fields as education, health and culture is fruitful. By 2005 China has offered 18,000 person-times of government scholarship to 50 African countries and dispatched to African countries 16,000 person-times of medical personnel who with step all over the African continent have treated 240 million person-times of patients. The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation established in 2000 has become an important platform for bilateral collective dialogue and an effective mechanism of pragmatic cooperation, which has strongly boosted the development of China-Africa relations.
He stressed that both China and African countries are developing nations and hold extensive common consensus and share common interest on many issues. Both sides expect to further strengthen and deepen cooperation. The Chinese government hopes take the opportunity of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Africa to join hands with African nations in promoting the all-round and in-depth development of China-Africa relations. At the beginning of the year the Chinese government issued the document on its policies with Africa and in April President Hu Jintao paid a successful visit to three African countries. The upcoming visit of Premier Wen to the seven African countries is another major event in China’s diplomatic activities with Africa. Premier Wen will follow the principle of “deepening friendship, increasing mutual trust, expanding cooperation and seeking common development” to discuss how to further advance the bilateral friendly and cooperative relations and strengthen China-Africa friendship and plan the direction of future development with the leaders of the seven countries in an in-depth manner.
He said that Egypt is the first stop of Premier Wen’s visit. Egypt is a big developing country with great influence in the Middle East and Africa. Since 1999 China and Egypt established diplomatic ties both sides have maintained frequent exchanges of high-level visit, achieved fruitful results of cooperation in various fields and kept communications and coordination in international affairs. The visit of Premier Wen will be paid on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Egypt diplomatic ties. Premier Wen will meet with President Mubarak, Speaker Sorour and Shura Council Speaker Sherif and hold talks with Prime Minister Nazif. The leaders of the two countries will make an overall review on the history of bilateral ties over the past 50 years and focus on discussing how to deepen China-Egypt strategic cooperation. Both sides will sign a number of cooperation agreements covering politics, economy and trade, culture and education and hold a symbolic launch ceremony of bilateral cooperation projects. Premier Wen and Prime Minister Nazif will jointly attend and address the grand evening celebrations on the 50th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and Egypt in front of the pyramid. Before concluding his visit Premier Wen will hold a press conference.
On Premier Wen’s visit to Ghana, He said that Ghana is one of the earliest countries in Sub-Saharan Africa establishing diplomatic ties with China and the two peoples enjoy profound traditional friendship. Over the past 46 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties the two sides have kept deepening the bilateral cooperation in various fields and extended mutual support and collaboration in international affairs. The bilateral cooperation in such fields as infrastructure construction, communication and human resources continues expanding. During his visit to Ghana Premier Wen will exchange opinions with President Kufuor on building up bilateral traditional friendship, expanding mutually beneficial cooperation and other issues of common concern and attend the completion ceremony of the renovation project of Ghana railway built with Chinese assistance. Both sides will sign cooperation documents in the areas of economy and trade, education and health.
On Premier Wen’s visit to Congo (Brazzaville), He said that Congo (Brazzaville) shares traditional friendship with China. Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1964 the bilateral relations have been progressing healthily and stably. As the current rotating president of the African Union, President Sassou plays an important role in African affairs. During his visit Premier Wen will hold talks with President Sassou and exchange views with him on bilateral ties and international and regional issues of common concern. He will also meet with Prime Minister Mvouba and visit the hospital where the Chinese medical aid team works and a local middle school where Chinese is taught. Both sides will sign cooperation documents in the areas of economy and trade, education and agriculture.
On Premier Wen’s visit to Angola, He said that Angola is an important country of Africa. During the fight of the Angolan people for independence, the Chinese people extended great support and assistance and the two peoples established profound friendship. Since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1983 the bilateral cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results and the understanding and friendship between the two peoples continued increasing. During his visit Premier Wen will exchange views with President Dos Santos on deepening bilateral cooperation in all fields and other issues of common concern and meet with Angolan Prime Minister. Both sides will sign cooperation documents covering the areas of economy and trade, agriculture, health and justice.
On Premier Wen’s visit to South Africa, He said that both China and South Africa are important developing countries. The Chinese government and people once extended long-term support to the South African people for their fight against apartheid and established profound friendship with the South African people. Since 1998 the two countries established diplomatic ties the bilateral relations have been progressing comprehensively and rapidly. The two sides maintain frequent exchanges of high-level visit, enjoy increasing political mutual trust and have established the strategic partnership of equality, mutual benefit and common development. The bilateral pragmatic cooperation in various fields has achieved fruitful results and the two sides keep close consultations and collaboration in major international affairs. During his visit Premier Wen will exchange opinions with President Mbeki on deepening China-South Africa strategic cooperation comprehensively, meet with such officials as Vice President and parliamentary leaders of South Africa and Chief Executive Officer of the NEPAD Secretariat, attend the China-South Africa Business Cooperation Forum and make address on China-South Africa relations, China-Africa relations and China-Africa economic and trade cooperation. Both sides will sign a series of cooperation documents in such areas as politics, economy and trade, agriculture, health, science and technology, forestry, education and animal and plant quarantine.
On Premier Wen’s visit to Tanzania, He said that the China-Tanzania traditional friendship enjoys a solid foundation. Over the past 42 years since the establishment of China-Tanzania diplomatic ties the two countries have been supporting each other and cooperating sincerely. Both sides maintain frequent high-level exchanges and enjoy fruitful cooperation in the areas of economy, trade, culture, education and health. During his visit Premier Wen and President Kikwete will review the progress of bilateral ties over the past 42 years since the establishment of diplomatic ties and exchange opinions on further advancing the friendly cooperation. He will also meet with Prime Minister Lowassa, pay tribute to the memorial of Chinese experts who provided assistance to Tanzania and visit the building site of the Tanzania national stadium constructed with assistance from China. Both sides will sign cooperation documents in the areas of economy and trade, agriculture, education and health.
On Premier Wen’s visit to Uganda, He said that over the past 44 years since the establishment of China-Uganda diplomatic ties the bilateral relations have been progressing steadily and cooperation in such fields as politics, economy and trade, culture and education and health has achieved fruitful results. The two countries enjoy close high-level exchanges and expanding friendly cooperation. During his visit Premier Wen will hold talks with President Museveni and meet with Prime Minister Nsibambi to exchange opinions with them on further raising bilateral cooperation, attend the get-together activities of the Chinese and Ugandan people and visit the Uganda AIDS Prevention and Treatment Center. Both sides will sign cooperation documents in the areas of economy and trade, agriculture, education and health.
He indicated confidence that with the joint efforts of all sides the visit of Premier Wen will surely be a complete success and make greater contributions to further developing China-Africa relations.
He also answered questions of the journalists on China-Africa economic and trade relations, Chinese assistance to Africa and China-Africa tourism cooperation.