Xue Bing, Special Envoy for the Horn of Africa Affairs of the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has reiterated China's resolve to continue supporting Horn of Africa (HOA) countries in their efforts toward sustainable peace, security and regional development.
The Chinese special envoy made the remarks as China and countries in the region kicked off the First China-Horn of Africa Peace, Good Governance and Development Conference on Monday.
China will continue to support countries in the region to uphold the vision of common, comprehensive, cooperative and sustainable security; protect regional peace and security; and silence the guns in the Horn of Africa, Xue told ministers and senior officials attending the peace conference in Addis Ababa, the capital of Ethiopia.
The two-day conference, which runs until Tuesday, brought together ministers and high-level representatives of Horn of Africa countries of Ethiopia, Kenya, Sudan, South Sudan, Somalia, Uganda and Djibouti.
Addressing the conference, Xue underscored China's readiness to support HOA countries to focus on development, accelerate regional integration, enhance connectivity, boost home-grown economic development, explore complementarity among one another, and step up cooperation in areas including agriculture, trade, manufacturing and infrastructure with a view to foster industrial and economic belt areas and create more jobs and growth.
Xue emphasized the notable potential of the HOA, which is home for about 300 million people, as an intersection to the eastern and western civilizations with a unique geographical location and abundant natural endowments.
He, however, noted that peace and development of the region are put into challenge in recent times, which necessitates building lasting regional peace and development.
He said China, as a good partner of countries in the region, put forth the Outlook on Peace and Development in the HOA early this year based on the region's reality and past experience.
The outlook is aimed at supporting countries in the region to steer clear of external interference, respond to the triple challenges of security, development and governance; and realize peace, development and prosperity, Xue said.
Xue said China encourages HOA countries to step up experience sharing on domestic governance, synergize national development policies, and explore a way of growing relations among different ethnic groups, religions and cultures.
He said China will continue supporting countries in the region to join their efforts, engage in a holistic approach, and make a common response to non-traditional security challenges such as terrorism, climate change, and the refugee crisis, among others.
The special envoy reiterated China's readiness to contribute its share to the peaceful development of the Horn of Africa alongside the implementation of the "Nine Programs" that were made at the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in November last year.
Meanwhile, the Chinese envoy called on the international community to step up investment in the region and make greater contributions to the independent and sustainable development of the region and Africa in general.
Amid a series of old and emerging security perils, countries in the region urgently need to find fresh conflict resolution approaches to ensure stability and peaceful socio-economic development.
China has been part of efforts to support regional countries in addressing security, development and governance challenges.
Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi said when visiting Kenya in early January that China stands ready to propose the "Outlook on Peace and Development in the Horn of Africa" to support regional countries in addressing security, development and governance challenges.