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China, Africa have shared destiny: Xi

2013-03-29 08:52 Global Times     Web Editor: Sun Tian comment

Chinese President Xi Jinping Thursday told African leaders that China and Africa have a shared destiny, and vowed to unswervingly hold friendly policies toward the continent regardless of changing international circumstances.

Xi made the remarks at a breakfast meeting with a group of African leaders who attended the BRICS Leaders-Africa Dialogue Forum on Wednesday in Durban, South Africa.

Xi told the leaders that China will be a reliable friend and genuine partner of African countries forever, and contribute more to peace and development in the continent, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

The president further elaborated that China will actively participate in the mediation and solving of hotspot issues in Africa and encourage Chinese enterprises to expand their investment in Africa, among other issues.

African leaders said China's investment and aid assisted economic and social development on the continent. They said the facts have proved that China is Africa's reliable friend and partner, and that accusations of China pursuing "neocolonialism" in Africa are groundless.

Xi is scheduled to visit the Republic of Congo, the final leg of this visit. It will be the first time that a Chinese president visits the country.

China is the largest trading partner of the Republic of Congo, and mainly imports crude oil and timber.

Xu Weizhong, a researcher on Africa at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, told the Global Times that the three stops of the president's visit in Africa, namely Tanzania, South Africa and the Republic of Congo, reflected a balanced foreign policy, which attaches importance to both traditional friendly countries and emerging powers.

Earlier on Wednesday, the BRICS leaders reaffirmed support for sustainable infrastructure development in Africa. Xi said the emerging countries should jointly participate in the construction of major multinational projects in Africa.

According to a declaration released after the BRICS summit, import-export banks and development banks from Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa concluded the "Multilateral Agreement on Infrastructure Co-Financing for Africa."

Xu said each of the five countries is deeply engaged in Africa's infrastructure construction, but the new agreement would tap their combined strengths in the development.

Xu noted that transnational and trans-regional infrastructure, which is needed by African countries to promote connectivity, is too large a project for one country to develop alone, even China.

The five emerging countries agreed to establish a development bank, saying the "initial contribution to the bank should be substantial and sufficient for the bank to be effective in financing infrastructure," according to the declaration.

However, the announcement fell short of expectations.

Li Xiangyang, director of the Institute of Asia-Pacific Studies under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said that problems over the bank's organizational structure may have been hindering progress.

In addition to a $100-billion contingency reserve established by BRICS, the bank may provide loans to other developing economies, and it should have a stricter and more complicated structure, Li said.

Fan Yongming, director of the Center for BRICS Studies at Fudan University, said that besides these tangible results, the summit also demonstrated the emerging countries' political influence in the world and shored up the world's confidence in the group, despite the West's skepticism over their momentum in recent years.

Some people have expressed pessimism over their combined strengths, given the mutual distrust between some members of the group.

Fan said the disputes between them would not hamper their cooperation, because they all need a platform to jointly advocate reform of the international order, and they may patch up their differences during the process.

"Take China and India for example, during their cooperation, the two could know they are both working toward the goal of uniting developing countries rather than competing with each other in leading the developing world," Fan noted.

Special Report:

President Xi Jinping's Four-nation Debut Tour

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