Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong Attends the Seventh China-Africa Think Tank Forum

On July 4, 2018, Assistant Foreign Minister Chen Xiaodong attended the opening ceremony of the seventh China-Africa Think Tank Forum and delivered a speech.

Chen Xiaodong stated that this forum is held at a most opportune time in this 40th anniversary of China's reform and opening-up. The theme of this year's forum is "China-Africa Relations over the Course of Reform and Opening-up". The last 40 years has not only seen China achieving common progress with the rest of the world, but also witnessed China and Africa forging ahead, side by side, shoulder to shoulder. Over the past four decades, our political relations have grown from strength to strength; economic cooperation has achieved phenomenal growth; people-to-people and cultural exchanges have been steadily expanded; and our cooperation on international and regional issues has been close.

Chen Xiaodong said that a few weeks ago, a conference on work relating to foreign affairs was held in Beijing, which established "Xi Jinping thought on diplomacy" as a fundamental principle and a guide to action for China's distinctive major-country diplomacy in the new era. The principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice and shared interests proposed by President Xi Jinping have become the guideline for China-Africa relations and China's relations and cooperation with other developing countries, producing far-reaching impact.

Chen Xiaodong pointed out, with the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) to be expected in September, this is a big year for China-Africa partnership. Both sides will capitalize on the momentum generated by the summit to chart the way forward. Discussions under the theme of "China and Africa: Toward an Even Stronger Community with a Shared Future through Win-Win Cooperation" will surely propel China-Africa relations and cooperation in sync with our times. The Beijing Summit will reinvigorate our joint effort to build a community with a shared future for mankind and catalyze our joint effort to advance the Belt and Road Initiative. We have no doubt that, with the close collaboration of the two sides, the Beijing Summit will become another milestone in China-Africa relations.

Chen Xiaodong stressed that China's cooperation with Africa has no political strings attached. It is a boost to local economic and social development and economically viable and win-win in nature, winning universal welcome and support from the African countries and peoples. China pays high attention to the importance of debt sustainability in Africa. As we provide financing to Africa in a responsible manner and try to help Africa contain debt risks, the associated risks are generally under control. The benefits of China-Africa cooperation are abundantly clear. No one will ever buy the irresponsible slanders made by a handful of countries. Many African governments and individuals have come forward to say so.

Chen Xiaodong expressed that think-tank cooperation is part and parcel of China-Africa cooperation. In recent years, we have tried meaningful things in this area and held a series of high-quality exchanges. These activities have fostered a positive atmosphere in both academia and society for stronger China-Africa relations. It is hoped that China-Africa think-tank will keep abreast of the change, focus on cooperation, lend voice to the bright future of China-Africa relations, and help shape a narrative that reflects our shared values. It would also help if we could step forward to debunk false stories about China-Africa cooperation whenever they arise.

The China-Africa Think Tank Forum is an important sub-forum under the framework of the FOCAC. The meeting was hosted by the Secretariat of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the FOCAC and co-organized by Zhejiang Normal University and the Center for International Strategic Studies of the Counsellor's Office of the State Council, with more than 350 experts, scholars and journalists from China and 53 African countries present.

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