Chinese President Xi Jinping proposed here Friday that his country and Africa lift their relationship to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership and join hands to open a new era of win-win cooperation and common development.
Delivering a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the second summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Xi stressed that China will adhere to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and strike a right balance between upholding principles and pursuing benefits in its Africa policy.
The Chinese president, who co-hairs the landmark leaders' meeting with his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, suggested that the world's largest developing country and the continent that is home to the largest number of developing countries further promote their relations on five pillars.
In politics, the two sides should remain committed to political equality and mutual trust, said Xi, stressing that China strongly believes that Africa belongs to the African people and African affairs should be handled by the African people.
"We should respect each other's choice of development path and not impose our own will on the other," Xi said.
In the economic realm, China and Africa should remain committed to win-win cooperation, Xi said, suggesting that the two sides fully leverage the strength of political mutual trust and economic complementarity and focus on cooperation in production capacity, construction of regional transport networks and industrialization.
Meanwhile, China and Africa, which both boast a long and splendid civilization, should learn from each other in culture, and particularly focus on boosting people-to-people exchanges between their youths, women, think tanks, media organizations and universities, Xi said.
Also, the two sides need to close ranks and help each other on security, said the president, stressing that Beijing supports Africa resolving African problems in African ways and stands ready to help Africa enhance its capacity in safeguarding peace and security.
In addition, Xi called upon the two sides to cement unity and coordination on international affairs and jointly defend their common interests, saying that China will continue to support Africa in playing a bigger role on the world stage.
Xi said China and Africa have always been a community of common destiny with the same historical experiences and the same course of struggle having made the two peoples forge profound friendship.
China, Xi said, after 30 years of reform and opening-up, is now in a position to help Africa realize sustainable self-development with technology, equipment, skillful professionals and capital.
"In particular, China has the strong political commitment to supporting Africa in achieving development and prosperity," Xi said, adding that China and Africa share mutual needs and complementarities and are facing rare historical opportunity in pursuing development through cooperation.
The FOCAC, which groups China, 50 African countries that have established diplomatic ties with China, and the Commission of the African Union, started as a ministerial-level dialogue 15 years ago. Since then, China notably ramped up its engagement with Africa.
China has been Africa's largest trade partner for six straight years and Africa is assuming growing importance as an investment and engineering contract destination for Chinese enterprises.