Wang Yi Gives an Interview to the Media on the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC)
2018/09/06

On September 6, 2018, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi gave an interview to the media, introducing the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and its outcomes. The following is the full text:

I. Q: The 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit is another group meeting for Chinese and African leaders since the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, which is held in China again after 12 years. What do you think of the features and significance of this Summit?

Wang Yi: The curtain has fallen for the 2018 FOCAC Beijing Summit. Under the personal chairmanship and guidance of President Xi Jinping, China and Africa have maintained close communication and sincere collaboration, and the Summit progressed smoothly and achieved complete success in a harmonious atmosphere. The Summit has reached a series of outcomes with far-reaching significance and important impact, and chief of them is that both China and Africa agreed to build an even stronger community with a shared future. African countries actively support and participate in the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. The African side highly appreciates China's eight major initiatives for the next stage of practical cooperation between China and Africa. The two sides also agreed to jointly uphold multilateralism, oppose unilateral actions and support the United Nations (UN) in playing its core role. The Summit is a historic gathering of the China-Africa big family. It is also a historical monument to the joint efforts of China and Africa to strengthen unity and cooperation for common development.

On the whole, this Summit has the following distinctive features:

First, the Summit is a large-scale one running at a high level. President Xi Jinping and 54 African members of the FOCAC attended the Summit, including 40 presidents, 10 prime ministers, 1 vice president and Chairman of the African Union (AU) Commission. The number of ministerial level officials from Africa reaches up to 249, and the number of African leaders and delegations attending the Summit is unprecedented. In addition, the UN Secretary-General and representatives of 26 international and African regional organizations also attended the Summit at invitation, with over 3,200 participants from home and abroad, making it the largest and most high-profile diplomatic event ever hosted by China.

Second, the Summit has intensive activities and has achieved fruitful results. Chinese and African leaders have held more than 100 events including the opening ceremony, leaders' roundtable meeting, entrepreneur conference and bilateral talks. It lasts for more than a week, which can be called a golden week of China-Africa friendship. President Xi Jinping spared no pains to host nearly 70 bilateral and multilateral events, including nearly 10 multilateral events and 8 state affairs events, and met with all African leaders in China respectively, setting a record of Chinese leaders' meetings with foreign leaders during the diplomatic event hosted by China. The two sides have witnessed the signing of nearly 150 cooperation agreements covering various fields, especially cooperation documents on the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative signed between 28 countries and the AU Commission and China, which have set off another wave of support for the construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and expanded its circle of friends. The Summit adopted two important outcome documents, The Beijing Declaration--Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future and the FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021), and more than 100 new measures to deepen China-Africa cooperation across the board were launched with the implementation of the eight major initiatives as the core.

Third, the Summit was held in a warm atmosphere which has attracted worldwide attention. The national flags of China and African countries and the banners of the Summit were everywhere on the streets in Beijing, reflecting that China-Africa friendship has been deeply rooted in the hearts of the people. During the Summit, the talks of the Chinese and African leaders about the friendship and cooperation between the two sides were immersed in an atmosphere of equality, harmony and unity. At the opening ceremony and the leaders' roundtable meeting, leaders of the African side praised the China-Africa friendly tradition that has withstood the test of international vicissitudes and spoke highly of President Xi Jinping's international vision and sense of responsibility for his sincere commitment to the unity and mutual assistance between China and Africa. The African leaders also expressed their heartfelt thanks to China for its great contributions to helping Africa overcome poverty and achieve sustainable development, publicly criticized the groundless accusations against China-Africa cooperation, and unanimously agreed that China is the most reliable partner for the development and rejuvenation of the African continent. "China is a friend who helps Africa with practical actions, and a friend who helps you stand up when you fall on the ground. How can African countries not express gratitude to China!" an African leader said movingly.

Both Chinese and African media engaged in different areas have comprehensively covered the Summit, filling their front pages with highlights of the Summit and stories about China-Africa friendship. Leaders of various African countries, the UN Secretary-General and principals of international and regional organizations received exclusive interviews, in which they enumerated a large number of practical outcomes and vivid examples of China-Africa cooperation. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa which is the co-chair of the FOCAC said that Africa-China relations have entered a golden age. The international mainstream media also aired many special reports, making the FOCAC Beijing Summit the focus and highlight of the global public opinion.

The success of the FOCAC Beijing Summit has once again fully demonstrated that the traditional friendship between China and Africa enjoys a solid foundation, and that China-Africa practical cooperation is full of vitality. The mechanism of the FOCAC is pragmatic and efficient, and exchanges and cooperation between China and Africa are continuing to be at the forefront of international cooperation with Africa. Its meaning and impacts are as follows:

The Beijing Summit has set new grand goals for upgrading the relations between China and Africa, and China and Africa have always been close partners sharing weal and woe and the same destiny. At the Summit, President Xi Jinping put forward the idea of building an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future and made clear the specific connotation of the six-in-one strategy, which gained high praise and unanimous response of all African countries. This has further strengthened the willingness and confidence of both China and Africa to carry out cooperation in various fields on a larger scale, at a deeper level and with a higher standard, setting goals and charting the course for the development of China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.

The Beijing Summit has created a new upward channel for strengthening China-Africa cooperation. On the basis of a comprehensive summary of the successful experience of the ten major China-Africa cooperation plans, the Summit has become more well-targeted and effective, and it has put forward the eight major initiatives based on the people-centered cooperation concept, which calls for joint implementation by China and Africa. These initiatives will speed up China-Africa cooperation and accelerate the realization of the sustainable development in various African countries. The African leaders also widely believed that the Belt and Road Initiative has brought the Asian and African continents ever closer together, injected new vitality into Africa-China cooperation and proposed an innovative solution for global governance.

The Beijing Summit has expanded new and broad space for deepening South-South cooperation. Under the framework of the FOCAC, this Summit further aroused the willingness and also built the consensus of the 55 parties and the 2.6 billion people to commit to unity and cooperation. At the Summit, China and Africa have made their own voices heard on major international and regional issues and planned their own route for exploring development and cooperation, which plays an important leading role in and has demonstration effect on promoting South-South cooperation as well as helps better safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

The Beijing Summit has made new and positive contributions to maintaining the international system. Amid the in-depth adjustment of the international landscape, China and Africa have clearly sent out the voice of opposing unilateralism and protectionism and firmly safeguarding multilateralism and the free trade system at the Summit. Both sides have advocated upholding the principle of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, actively promoted the reform of the global governance system, and promoted economic globalization to develop toward a more open, inclusive, universally beneficial, balanced, and win-win direction, injecting strong and positive energy into the international situation full of uncertain and unstable factors.

Ⅱ. Q: President Xi Jinping delivered a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the FOCAC Beijing Summit. He also expressed his views on other occasions of the Summit, which attracted widespread attention and enthusiastic response from the international community. What are the highlights of these speeches? What impacts will they exert on China-Africa relations in the future?

Wang Yi: President Xi Jinping delivered a series of important speeches at various occasions including the opening ceremony of the Summit, the leaders' roundtable meeting, the opening ceremony of the High-level Dialogue Between Chinese and African Leaders and Business Representatives and the Sixth Conference of Chinese and African Entrepreneurs, and the joint meeting with the press together with presidents of the previous and sitting African co-chairs of the FOCAC. These speeches have different emphases and echo with each other, and comprehensively expound on the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, which represent an important innovation in President Xi Jinping's thought on diplomacy of socialism with Chinese characteristics for a new era toward Africa.

The keynote speech delivered by President Xi Jinping at the opening ceremony of the Summit is of great momentum. His strategically advantageous arguments and philosophical exposition demonstrate us a grand painting scroll of friendship and cooperation between China and Africa, provide answers for the major topics such as the origin, path and development direction of China-Africa relations, and epitomize new concepts, new initiatives and new measures of China's foreign diplomacy toward Africa in the new era.

The four adherences reveal the essential characteristics of the unity and cooperation between China and Africa. President Xi Jinping stressed that in pursuing long-term exchanges and cooperation with Africa, China and Africa value sincerity, friendship and equality, pursue common interests and put friendship first, take a people-oriented approach in pursuing practical cooperation with efficiency, and adopt an open and inclusive approach. With these efforts, China and Africa have embarked on a distinctive path of win-win cooperation. President Xi Jinping also stated that China follows a "five-no" approach in our cooperation with Africa: no interference in African countries' pursuit of development paths that fit their national conditions; no interference in 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. These are not only the fundamental reasons why we fear no wind and rain and why the China-Africa relations remain unshakable and become even firmer as time goes by, but also a "private secret" for the thriving and eternal China-Africa cooperation. No one could hold back the general trend of China-Africa cooperation and Africa's development.

The six-in-one strategy charts the course for the development of China-Africa relations. President Xi Jinping pointed out that both China and Africa should jointly build a China-Africa community with a shared future that assumes our joint responsibility, pursues win-win cooperation, delivers happiness for all of us, enjoys cultural prosperity and common security, and promotes harmony between man and nature. This makes clear the epochal connotation, development direction and path of building an even stronger China-Africa community with a shared future, and will comprehensively improve the strategic significance and perspectiveness of China-Africa relations, usher in better prospects for China-Africa cooperation, and accumulate experience and set an example for the rest of the world in building a community with a shared future for mankind.

The eight major initiatives project the specific paths for the common development of China and Africa. As an updated version of ten major China-Africa cooperation plans, the eight major initiatives proposed by President Xi Jinping emphasize that the Chinese side will devote itself to strengthening cooperation in industrial capability, infrastructure, trade and other fields, and at the same time, expanding the cooperation potentials in green development, capacity building, health care, people-to-people exchange, peace and security, etc. In particular, China will see to it that the Belt and Road Initiative and the AU Agenda 2063, the UN 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the development programs of African countries better complement each other. With these efforts, we are sure to promote better and faster China-Africa cooperation with greater development and bring more benefits for the African people.

The speech of President Xi Jinping received a warm response, earning overwhelming applause from the audience for 29 times. After the speech, leaders of African countries successively shook hands with President Xi Jinping and extended their congratulations. All sides expressed their heartfelt gratitude and admiration for President Xi Jinping's sincere assistance to developing countries and especially for his consideration for the African people, believing that the eight major initiatives will provide new and broad space for the development of Africa and greatly change the image of Africa. Some leaders of African countries even directly pointed out that some Western countries only talk the talk while China walks the walk. They expressed that China sticks to putting friendship first, and consistently provides sincere and unselfish support for the development of Africa, which is in stark contrast to some other major countries' unequal relations with Africa. The idea that Africa-China cooperation increases the debt burdens of Africa is utterly wrong and there is no market for the West to provoke dissension in Africa-China relations!

It should be pointed out that President Xi Jinping not only leads the development direction of China's diplomatic relations with Africa in the ideological and conceptual levels, but also sets an example and earnestly practices what he advocates. President Xi Jinping cherishes old friends and makes new ones, equally treats the leaders of every African country, and communicates with them wholeheartedly, which strengthens their understanding, deepens friendships, builds consensuses, and makes development plans together. All these gestures have greatly advanced the friendship and cooperation between China and Africa and demonstrated the manner and sentiment of the leader of a major country.

III. Q: The Beijing Summit has adopted two outcome documents, namely the Beijing Declaration--Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future and the FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021). President Xi Jinping, on behalf of the Chinese side, announced a series of new measures to strengthen China-Africa cooperation. What is your comment on the outcomes of the Summit?

Wang Yi: The practical outcomes of this Summit are mainly represented by two documents and eight major initiatives. Of the two documents adopted by the Summit, the Beijing Declaration--Toward an Even Stronger China-Africa Community with a Shared Future is mainly the declaration of important consensus on strategic and global issues between China and Africa; the FOCAC Beijing Action Plan (2019-2021) focuses on making specific plans for China-Africa cooperation in the coming three years. The two documents serve as the programme and guideline for developing China-Africa relations in the coming period.

These eight major initiatives are the biggest highlight of the practical outcomes of the Summit. Based on the ten major China-Africa cooperation plans proposed at the Johannesburg Summit, the eight major initiatives pay more attention to the development needs of various African countries and the general aspiration of the African people, and lay more emphasis on the pertinence and effectiveness of cooperation measures as well as the universal benefits and perspectiveness of cooperation projects. The eight major initiatives not only covered the traditional advantageous areas of China-Africa cooperation, but also expanded the space of China-Africa cooperation, thus constituting a more integrated cooperation system.

The two sides agreed to further enhance high-level exchanges, strengthen experience exchanges on state governance and administration and development, firmly support each other in independently choosing a development path suitable to respective national conditions, as well as actively explore and expand the effective paths for developing countries to move toward modernization. Both sides will intensify coordination and cooperation in international and regional affairs, and unequivocally safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of the vast developing countries.

The two sides agreed that we will, under the framework of the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative, mainly strengthen cooperation in such fields as industrial development, infrastructure, trade and investment, energy and resource exploration, agriculture, and environment protection, attach greater importance to promoting Africa's independent development capabilities, and focus more on improving the people's livelihood and employment of Africa, so as to better achieve win-win cooperation and common development between China and Africa.

The two sides made a commitment to further enhancing exchanges and cooperation in human resources development, science and technology, culture, medical treatment and health, media, tourism and other fields, especially in enhancing China-Africa youth exchanges and capacity building, so as to constantly consolidate the social and public opinion foundation of China-Africa friendship. The African side highly praised the Chinese side for greatly increasing government scholarships for Africa and innovatively initiating the Luban Workshops, a China-Africa innovation and entrepreneurship center, a tailor-made program and other measures.

The two sides both agreed to enhance peace and security cooperation to provide stronger security guarantee for peace and development of Africa and China-Africa practical cooperation. The Chinese side decided to set up a China-Africa peace and security fund. It is the first time that China has made fund arrangement in the field of peace and security in Africa, which will build a more efficient platform for bilateral cooperation. The Chinese side will continue to provide free military aid to the AU, and will support countries in the Sahel region and those bordering the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Guinea in maintaining peace and stability in their regions.

African leaders highly appreciated fruitful outcomes achieved at the Summit, and expressed heartfelt gratitude for the warm welcome given by the Chinese government and people. They expressed admiration for achievements China has scored in its development, and noted that they are willing to be China's trust-worthy friends and partners and firmly stand with the Chinese side.

Ⅳ. Q: The FOCAC Beijing Summit is an important move of China toward developing countries. President Xi Jinping has mentioned unity and cooperation among developing countries for multiple times in his speech at the Summit. How will China strengthen its overall relations with other developing countries in the future?

Wang Yi: As President Xi Jinping pointed out in his speech at the Summit that China is the world's largest developing country, and Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries. The two sides will stay committed to strengthening unity and cooperation and working with each other along the path of win-win cooperation and common development. It is the long-term and firm strategic choice of China's diplomacy to enhance unity and cooperation with developing countries including those in Africa. It is decided by China's national position, institutional attributes and value orientation, and will not change because of China' development nor waver in international vicissitudes.

The year 2018 is a major year for China-Africa relations, and a year of South-South cooperation for China's diplomacy. The Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF), and the FOCAC have held conferences respectively within this year, realizing China's full coverage of major activities of collective dialogue mechanism with developing countries. Developing countries have played a major role in significant home-field diplomatic activities such as the Boao Forum for Asia Annual Conference and the Qingdao Summit of Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) hosted by the Chinese side. These conferences fully demonstrate the current strong momentum of unity and cooperation among developing countries and the firm will of China to advance South-South cooperation.

President Xi Jinping pointed out that China should deepen unity and cooperation with developing countries, and both sides should join hands to break a new ground for common development. For the next step, China will make unremitting efforts mainly in the following aspects:

First, continue to promote the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative and share opportunities with developing countries. The Belt and Road Initiative has opened up a new path for breaking global development conundrum and realizing common development of all countries. This time, African countries also enthusiastically responded to and actively participated in it, further strengthening the force and momentum for the joint construction of the Belt and Road Initiative. China will always adhere to extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits, uphold openness, transparency and inclusiveness, advocate green environmental protection and sustainability, constantly enhance strategic integration with developing countries, deeply explore cooperation potentials, and promote economic integration, interconnected development and shared results, in a bid to realize high-level complementation of each other's strengths and common development.

Second, continue to strengthen strategic communication and cooperation and jointly meet challenges with developing countries. The current world is facing unprecedented changes unseen in a century. The development and revitalization of developing countries faces both a rare historic opportunity and the challenges of the times such as the deficits in peace, development and governance. China will bear in mind the special responsibility and important mission of the largest developing country, adhere to standing for justice for developing countries in the international arena, intensify communication with developing countries, strengthen strategic cooperation, and jointly push the global governance system to develop and improve toward a fairer, more reasonable and more balanced direction, so as to earnestly safeguard the common interests and collective demands of the group of developing countries.

Third, continue to vigorously promote the "two buildings" and share the mission with developing countries. Promoting the building of a new type of international relations and the building of a community with a shared future for mankind is the Chinese solution put forward by President Xi Jinping focusing on human development and the future of the world, which has received high praise from the international community, especially developing countries. Since the beginning of this year, the building of a community with a shared future for mankind has been included into the outcome documents of the FOCAC Beijing Summit, the SCO Qingdao Summit and the 8th Ministerial Meeting of the CASCF. We will unswervingly strengthen partnership with developing countries, gather the great strength of the vast developing countries and emerging market economies, continue making unremitting efforts to promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind, and earnestly undertake the great historical mission of promoting world peace and prosperity as well as the progress of human civilization.

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