Chinese ambassador to Britain said on Sunday that China has been a responsible investor and lender in Africa, rebuffing claims that his country is the cause of Africa's debt problem.
In a signed article published by the Sunday Telegraph and its website, ambassador Liu Xiaoming said that China-Africa cooperation is "open" and "transparent" and excludes no one.
He said that China stands ready to work with all countries that care for Africa and leverage its resources and advantages to help with Africa's development.
"In fact, China and the UK have engaged in extensive cooperation in this regard," the senior diplomat said. "Some people in the West blame China-Africa cooperation for Africa's debt problem, just as Aesop's fox claims that the grapes beyond its reach are sour."
Liu said the debt problem is a result of complex causes, including the "growing pains" and the influence of global economy.
He stressed that China has taken measures to help Africa control debt risks and to alleviate debt pressure, having announced a number of cancellations of debt on interest-free loans involving heavily indebted poor countries and least developed countries in Africa.
Since the Johannesburg Summit of FOCAC (Forum on China-Africa Cooperation), China has exempted more than 20 African countries from paying off interest-free loans due by the end of 2015.
Liu said that amid increasing instabilities and uncertainties in the world and surging unilateralism and protectionism, the FOCAC Beijing Summit to be held assumes great significance.
In his diplomatic career lasting more than 40 years, Liu served in two African countries and have seen with his own eyes the growth of China-Africa relations and the benefits of the ever-deepening cooperation between the two sides.
The source of the deep-running China-Africa friendship is that the two sides have helped and supported each other and shared weal and woe in the pursuit of national independence and development, he said.
"China and Africa are true friends who respect each other's choice of development path and never impose their will on each other," he said. "Africa belongs to the African people, and African issues should be determined by the African people."
China never preaches at or exports its model to Africa, nor does China attach any political strings to China-Africa cooperation, he noted.
China has been the largest trading partner of Africa for nine consecutive years. In 2017, two-way trade reached 170 billion U.S. dollars. China's investment stock in Africa has surpassed 100 billion dollars. China-Africa cooperation on the Belt and Road Initiative has been thriving, delivering tangible results such as the Addis Ababa-Djibouti Railway,the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway and the Hisense Home Appliances Industrial Park in South Africa.
China has built hundreds of schools and hospitals, provided training to over 160,000 people and offered government scholarships to over 20,000 students in Africa.
Liu stressed the importance of honoring commitment, saying there is no shortage of international mechanisms dedicated to African development. "Making promises is not enough," he said. "It is more important to deliver."
The ambassador said that with the joint efforts of China and Africa, the Beijing Summit will become a new milestone in the history of China-Africa relations.
"It will be a new contribution to better development, high-standard cooperation and an even stronger community for China and Africa, with a view to forging a community with a shared future for mankind," he said.