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Cover Stories Series 2011> BRICS Summit Wrap-Up> Archive
UPDATED: March 16, 2011 NO. 4 JANUARY 27, 2011
Equals Cooperating

Second, while China-Africa relations withstood the test of the global financial crisis, China-Africa friendship struck deeper roots in the hearts of the Chinese and African people. Despite the impact of the financial crisis, China not only faithfully honored its assistance commitments to Africa, but also continued to increase assistance to the full extent of its ability—efforts that were given high marks by African countries and their people. The Chinese people, for their part, will never forget the valuable support and assistance from African friends when China hosted the Olympic Games in Beijing and the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai and when major natural disasters struck, such as the Wenchuan earthquake in 2008.

Third, the Fourth Ministerial Meeting of FOCAC was successfully held in November 2009 and became a new beginning of the development of China-Africa relations. Premier Wen Jiabao announced, on behalf of the Chinese Government, eight new measures to promote practical China-Africa cooperation. Implementation of the measures is now smoothly underway. I am confident, with the joint efforts of both sides, China-Africa relations will build on the achievements and make further progress in the next five years.

China's growing ties with African countries in recent years have prompted negative comments about China pursuing "neo-colonialism" and "plundering African resources." What is your take on this matter?

The Chinese people and the African people share similar historical experiences. They have long stood by each other in weal and woe. They have always sympathized with and supported each other in their endeavor to win national independence and liberation, safeguard state sovereignty and dignity and seek national development. And they have conducted cooperation on the basis of equality and mutual benefit. China has never imposed its will upon African countries.

The starting point and focus of its policy have always been greater solidarity and cooperation with African countries and common development. China's approach to relations with African countries is fundamentally different from the unequal and unfair practices of colonialists. The label of "neo-colonialism" does not apply to China.

Africa, ruled and enslaved under colonialism for four centuries, knows best what colonialism is. Last year, Africa celebrated 50 years of independence from colonial rule. Reflecting upon the history of Africa's development after independence, many insightful Africans expressed concern over the danger of "re-colonization" by Western powers. They were concerned not about China but about those who deliberately fabricate and spread false claims about "China pursuing neo-colonialism in Africa."

Regarding the absurd argument that China is "plundering Africa's resources," I'd like to say China follows an energy policy that underlines the importance of self-sufficiency, conservation and diversity and has maintained a high energy self-sufficiency rate for years. Cooperation on energy and resources is only part of the wide-ranging cooperation between China and Africa and never the starting point of China's Africa policy. China's oil imports from Africa account for only 13 percent of African oil exports, and China's investment in Africa's oil sector is less than one 16th of all international investment, far less than that of Europe and the United States.

The cooperation between China and Africa on energy and resources is a result of the efforts of both to bring into play their complementary advantages and seek common development. Such cooperation conforms to market rules as well as international practices. It is mutually beneficial. It helps African countries translate their resource advantage into development advantage. Moreover, such cooperation is part of African countries' broader international cooperation on energy and resources. There is no cause for criticism.

South Africa has officially joined the BRIC, a group of emerging economies comprising Brazil, Russia, India and China, henceforth known as the BRICS. Chinese President Hu Jintao has invited South African President Jacob Zuma to attend a BRICS summit in China. What are your comments on this development? What implications will this have for Africa's economic development and China-Africa trade and economic cooperation?

Emerging economies—represented by BRICS nations—are in a similar stage of development and have shared positions and aspirations on many international issues. BRICS members also engage in cooperation in the agricultural, industrial, commercial and banking sectors and between think tanks. Strengthened coordination and cooperation between them are conducive to safeguarding shared interests, promoting world multi-polarization and democracy in international relations and achieving win-win outcomes and common development for emerging markets.

South Africa is the largest economy of Africa. Its GDP accounts for one fifth of Africa's total and its economic influence extends well across the African continent. South Africa's accession to the BRICS group will expand cooperation between African countries and major emerging economies, help create more room for Africa's international economic cooperation and give new impetus to its economic development.

Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1998, China-South Africa relations have made rapid progress in an all-round way, leading to the inauguration of a "comprehensive strategic partnership." South Africa is one of China's most important trade and investment partners in Africa. From January to November 2010, bilateral trade volume reached $22.654 billion, accounting for nearly one fifth of China-Africa trade.

South Africa's accession to the BRICS group and the deepening of practical cooperation within the BRICS framework will surely prompt China and South Africa to establish even closer collaboration in a wide range of areas, including economy and trade. The new situation will also give a further boost to trade and economic cooperation between China and Africa in general.

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