Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy injects strong impetus into China-Africa cooperation
H.E. Zhao Zhiyuan, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China To the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia
2022-04-23 13:54

Despite the long distance between us, China and Africa boast of a long history of friendly people-to-people exchanges. Ever since the establishment of diplomatic ties more than 60 years ago, China and Africa have stood the test of times, sharing weals and woes together. China has provided support to the development of Africa to the best of its ability and has been grateful for the strong support and selfless help African countries and their peoples have extended to China for a long period of time.

Since the 18th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), major-country diplomacy with Chinese characteristics has steadfastly forged ahead and China-Africa relationship has made strong progress under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, building a closer China-Africa community of shared future. China-Africa relationship is at its best now with fruitful results of China-Africa cooperation seen across the African continent, improving conditions for economic and social development in Africa and bringing tangible benefits to people in both China and Africa. China-Africa cooperation has stood as a model of South-South cooperation, and a fine example of international cooperation with Africa.

It has been more than a year since I assumed my post as the 15th Chinese Ambassador to Ethiopia. As a witness to the opportunities and changes China-Ethiopia cooperation has brought to Ethiopia, I personally felt the sincere friendliness of the Ethiopian government and people towards China and was deeply moved by the unbreakable fraternity between China and Africa. Today, I wish to share my views on the vivid practices of Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy in China-Africa relations.

Ⅰ. Guidance of the Leader

China always attaches great importance to Africa in its overall foreign policy, in which developing solidarity and cooperation with African countries is the cornerstone. This is our longstanding and firm strategy. As the chief architect of China’s distinct major-country diplomacy, President Xi Jinping has placed high values on China-Africa relationship, and personally drawn a blueprint for China-Africa cooperation. He put forward the principles of China’s Africa policy – sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and the concept of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, which won wide acclaim from African friends. These principles chart the course and provide fundamental guidelines for China’s cooperation with Africa.

During the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2018, President Xi emphasized that China respects, loves and supports Africa and firmly follows a “five-no” approach in our relations with Africa: no interference into African countries’ pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference into African countries’ internal affairs; no imposition of our will on African countries; no attachment of political strings to assistance to Africa; and no seeking of selfish political gains in investment and financing cooperation with Africa. He also made proposals on building a China-Africa community of shared future characterized by joint responsibility, win-win cooperation, happiness for all, cultural prosperity, common security, and harmony between humanity and nature, which has been the overall framework of China-Africa cooperation in the new era.

Last year, during the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference, President Xi summarized the history of China-Africa relations and proposed the Spirit of China-Africa Friendship and Cooperation for the first time, which features sincere friendship and equality, win-win cooperation for mutual benefits and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness, enriching China-Africa cooperation in the new era.

President Xi also personally planned, oversaw and engaged in head-of-state diplomacy. In March 2013, he visited Africa, which was his first official overseas visit after assuming the office of the Chinese President. To date, he has made four visits to countries across the African continent. During the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit, he had one-on-one meeting with more than 50 African leaders, and attended nearly 70 bilateral and multilateral events. Following the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, he presided over the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against Covid-19 and attended the 8th FOCAC ministerial conference via video link. President Xi has also maintained close communication and coordination with his African counterparts. Head-of-state diplomacy has guided China-Africa relations on the path of steady progress.

Since 2017, Ethiopian leaders have conducted three visits to China, attending the first Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation (BRF) in 2017, the FOCAC Beijing Summit in 2018 and the second BRF in 2019. Leaders of the two countries renewed friendship, explored ways of cooperation and discussed future development for the two countries. We will never forget that at the critical juncture of the Chinese people fighting against the COVID-19, Prime Minister Abiy expressed support to President Xi via letter and telephone call. All this attests to the mutual support between China and Ethiopia as comprehensive strategic cooperative partners and constitute vivid examples of the profound friendship between the two leaders, injecting confidence into and chart the course for China-Ethiopia cooperation.

. Responsibility of the Times

Five years ago, the world came to a crossroads with sluggish global economic growth plaguing, the process of economic globalization encountering headwind, and international political uncertainty being on the rise. Against this background, President Xi put forward the concept of building a community with a shared future for mankind, which is China’s answer to the epochal question of “what happened to the world and what shall we do”. This great vision calls on the people of all countries to work together and build an open, inclusive, clean and beautiful world that enjoys lasting peace, universal security, and common prosperity, which pointed out the right direction of international cooperation, and also has been a characteristic flag of China’s diplomacy in the new era.

At present, our world is going through a pandemic and changes unseen in a century, with rapid evolution of the international landscape and profound transformation of global governance. Certain big power is reviving the Cold War mentality and stoking confrontation between blocs. It willfully undermines international rule of law, and stirs up antagonism. It gets zealous about decoupling and building walls, and glorifies hegemony and bullying. Indeed, our world faces once again the danger of division and confrontation, which should not be allowed to continue.

China is the largest developing country in the world while Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. Similar historical experience and common aims and goals have brought China and Africa together. China and Africa have always been a community of shared future and two major forces for world peace and development. China always holds that Africa should be a big stage for international cooperation, not an arena for competition among major countries. We will firmly honor the commitment that China’s vote in the United Nations is always for the well-being of developing countries. We will stand firmly with our African partners to jointly safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, advocate common values of humanity such as peace, development, democracy and freedom and uphold world fairness and justice.

Ⅲ.Blueprint of Hope

For the world, the year ahead continues to be full of challenges. The current Ukraine crisis has a huge spilling over effect especially on developing countries. Many African countries are facing acute food and energy crisis and their economic recovery remains a persistent challenge. 

Development is all that matters in resolving a myriad of issues. China firmly supports African countries in realizing lasting peace and prosperity. We firmly believe that the more turbulent the international situation is, the more attention we should pay to the voice of African countries and the more support and assistance we should provide to Africa.

During the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference, President Xi proposed four proposals on building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, namely fighting COVID-19 with solidarity, deepening practical cooperation, promoting green development and upholding equity and justice, which received warm responses from African leaders. Meanwhile, China is appreciative of the welcome and support from African countries for the Global Development Initiative proposed by President Xi. On top of cooperation in traditional fields, China will aim at the most urgent development needs of African countries, promote high-quality cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and implement the Nine Programs with Africa. In so doing, we will transform and upgrade China-Africa cooperation in such fields as health, people’s well-being, green development, digital economy, and capacity building, supporting Africa in achieving economic recovery.

The world will be better if China and Africa are more developed. China-Africa cooperation in the new era is the sure way for us to realize common development. It will also lay a more solid foundation for building an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future as well as build up a strong momentum for the rise of developing countries as a whole and for a more balanced international landscape. Under the guidance of Xi Jinping Thought on Socialism with Chinese Characteristics for a New Era and Xi Jinping Thought on Diplomacy, China will adhere to the principles of sincerity, affinity, good faith and practical results, uphold the values of shared interests and the greater good, and promote the Spirit of China-Africa Friendship and Cooperation. We will stand with African countries including Ethiopia in the implementation of the outcomes of the 8th FOCAC Ministerial Conference, make greater contributions to the fight against the pandemic, build up solidarity and cooperation, and achieve common development and prosperity. We will continue to cooperate with Africa and work tirelessly for building an even stronger China-Africa community of shared future.

China will always be the most reliable friend and faithful partner for Africa’s development and rejuvenation. We are fully confident that China-Africa cooperation will have an even brighter future.