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AU, China vow to take bilateral ties to new height

Updated: May 4,2016 9:49 AM     Xinhua

ADDIS ABABA — The African Union (AU) and China have reiterated to further strengthen cooperation in different areas towards augmented relationship between China and Africa.

This came on May 3 during a reception organized on the AU premises in Ethiopia’s capital Addis Ababa, to mark the first anniversary of the establishment of Chinese mission to the pan-African bloc.

Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson of the AU Commission, other senior officials of AU, diplomats based in Addis Ababa, as well as representatives of international organizations and Chinese companies have attended the event, which was color with the accompany of Chinese folk performance, and which AU hailed a pleasant event.

In his remarks on the occasion, Kuang Weilin, Chinese Mission Head to AU, said the cooperation between China and AU has made great strides in different aspects.

“Exchanges at all levels have gained momentum; practical cooperation has yielded new concrete results; and China-AU cooperation in peace and security is now faced new opportunities,” said Kuang.

During the latest summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) last December in Johannesburg, South Africa, President Xi Jinping announced ten major areas of China-Africa cooperation, for which China has also pledged $ 60 billion in a three-year implementation period.

The summit was a milestone event in the history of China-Africa relations and cooperation, mapping out a blueprint for China’s long-term cooperation with Africa, said the ambassador.

“China has been working closely with African countries to expedite the implementation of the big plans of FOCAC summit,” he added.

According to the diplomat, discussions have been held with more than 30 African countries on ways of speeding up the materialization of some early harvest items within the FOCAC framework.

He noted that China’s relations and cooperation with Africa and with AU are at new historical hight.

He also said the sound and steady development of China’s economy is in the interest of promoting China’s cooperation with African countries.

Kuang said China is committed to working with Africa and AU to seize and maximize opportunities for win-win cooperation and common development.

Erastus Mwencha, Deputy Chairperson of the AU Commission, has commended China for enabling improved relationship and strengthened ties with AU by establishing mission to the pan-African bloc.

The establishment of the Chinese mission to AU demonstrates China’s commitment to the relationship with Africa, reiterated Mwencha.

He noted that the FOCAC summit held last year illustrated the heightened cooperation between China and Africa.

The Deputy Chairperson has also hailed China’s support to Africa in peace and security; human capital development by providing scholarship and training; and the effort made to halt Ebola crisis on the continent among others.

“We acknowledge the $1.2 million donation to the peace funds and continue to seek greater counter-terrorism cooperation to contain the scourge caused by these radical and extreme elements who continue to pose a grave risk not only to Africa but international community living and working in Africa.”

“The partnership between the AU and China is grounded on the areas of collaboration to walk hand in hand with Africa in our visions agenda 2063. Our cooperation, therefore, must strive to enhance the overall environment and conditions for socio-economic development for purposes of poverty reduction.”

“Our bilateral trade has grown to about $220 billion at the end of 2015. China’s foreign direct investment to Africa has grown to over $30 billion and prospects are even bigger. Security threat is a global phenomenon but calls for an all inclusive approach. Africa is keen to continue its partnership with China to address security hotspots,” he said.

Expressing AU’s commitment to strengthening relations with China, Mwencha has called for further cooperation in areas including among others addressing negative impacts of climate change, green development technology, and disease control and prevention initiatives.