BEIJING – At the beginning of 2022, China and Africa expect to enhance their long-standing friendship by honoring a fine diplomatic tradition for the 32nd year.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi will visit Eritrea, Kenya and Comoros from Jan 4 to 7 upon invitation, continuing Chinese foreign ministers' tradition of visiting Africa at the beginning of a year.
Since 1991, the African continent has been the destination for the first overseas visits made by Chinese foreign ministers each and every year
Since 1991, the African continent has been the destination for the first overseas visits made by Chinese foreign ministers each and every year. By following this tradition for more than 30 years, China, the world's largest developing country, and Africa, the continent with the largest number of developing countries, have manifested their willingness to continue developing their friendship.
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Why choosing Africa over other places? The answer to this question can be found in the history of China-Africa interactions. The two sides were brought together by shared past experiences and similar aims and goals, and have supported each other and expanded mutual political trust in the fight for national liberation and independence.
Over the years, China has firmly supported African countries in many fields, including following development paths that fit their national conditions. On their part, African countries have provided important support for China's endeavors to safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests, promote reunification, and achieve national rejuvenation through development. Despite the shifting international landscape, the two sides have always been good friends and partners.
Chinese foreign ministers' visits to Africa not only exemplify the ironclad friendship forged in the past but also brought tangible benefits to both sides and set the pace for future cooperation and development.
In January 2021, despite the raging COVID-19 pandemic, Wang still made trips to five African countries, honoring the good diplomatic tradition for the 31st year. During his visit, he voiced China's firm support for Africa to fight the pandemic, accelerate economic recovery, upgrade China-Africa cooperation for higher quality, and enhance the continent's international influence.
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The foreign minister's remarks highlighted some key topics in the development of China-Africa relations, and that China has carried out its promises. Even during the pandemic, China-Africa cooperation showed remarkable vitality.
For example, to aid Africa's fight against the pandemic, China has provided about 180 million doses of COVID-19 vaccines to African countries as of December and has promised to provide another 1 billion doses. China has also actively shared its anti-epidemic experience with African countries, and the emergency supplies it provided have reached almost all areas across the continent.
Meanwhile, economic cooperation between the two sides continued to advance. As of October this year, Africa's trade with China reached $207.1 billion, which is 37.5 percent higher than the same time last year.
The two sides are now seeking to strengthen cooperation in fields including medical and health care, people's livelihoods, green development, digital economy and capacity building, so as to make a greater contribution to Africa's post-COVID-19 economic recovery and sustainable development.
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With old promises honored and new ones made, China is ready to enhance its friendship with Africa following the principles of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith.