Source Global Times

BEIJING, China--Ahead of the upcoming Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Senegal, China on Friday released its first white paper on China-Africa cooperation, documenting the successes of China-Africa cooperation in the new era and offering a perspective on future cooperation between the two sides.

The white paper, titled 'China and Africa in the New Era - A Partnership of Equals" was released by the State Council Information Office on Friday.

On Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said that Chinese President Xi Jinping will attend the opening ceremony of the Eighth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and deliver a keynote speech through video link in Beijing on November 29.

The white paper is the first released by the Chinese government that comprehensively introduces China-Africa cooperation and it is also the first while paper outlining China's achievements on cooperation with a specific region since the Party's 18th National Congress in 2012,Wu Jianghao, Deputy Foreign Minister, told a press conference on Friday.

Wu Jianghao noted that the white paper provides a systematic and overall review on the new concept, new practices and new achievements of Xi Jinping Thought relating to Diplomacy in Africa and elaborates on the principles put forward by President Xi on China's Africa policy - sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and pursuing the greater good and shared interests.

Aside from outlining China's Africa policy and the achievements of China-Africa cooperation, the white paper, which was released ahead of the upcoming FOCAC in Senegal, also aims to increase international understanding on China-Africa cooperation and offer China's experience and approach to the international cooperation with Africa and global cooperation, Wu Jianghao noted.

Friday's white paper includes the principles for the China-Africa cooperation; all-round cooperation in the new era, including mutual political trust, rapid expanding economic cooperation, growing cooperation on social development, people-to-people and cultural exchanges, cooperation on peace and security; the perspective on future cooperation.

Chinese and African people have supported each other and engaged in sincere cooperation on fighting for their national independence and development and forged profound friendship since the 1950s. The two sides firmly support each other on issues of their core interests and major concerns, Wu Jianghao said.

"No matter how the international circumstance changes, the heart for mutual benefit and development of China-Africa would not change. China and Africa will always be each other's most reliable friend and sincere partner," Wu Jianghao said.

Regarding  "Chinese debt trap" rhetoric frequently hyped by the West, Director-General of the Department of African Affairs of the Foreign Ministry Wu Peng said at the press conference that the rhetoric was baseless and had been refuted by international scholars, institutions and governments.  

Not a single developing country has fallen into a so-called "trap" because of Chinese loans, and facts and figures have fully revealed that this argument is completely untenable, Wu Peng said.

Some African countries have faced temporary difficulties due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and China actively implemented the G20 initiative on extending debt relief for the poor countries. Among G20 members, China has extended the largest volume of debt relief and has signed agreements or reached consensus with 19 African countries on debt relief measures, Wu Peng said.

China respects the will of the African people and engages in pragmatic and efficient financing and investment cooperation with Africa based on local conditions, which has been welcomed by African countries, he said.

Why is money offered by Western countries and Japan to developing countries considered "official development assistance (ODA)" while the money offered by China is labelled as "debt trap?" Wu Jianghao asked, noting that the whole "debt trap" rhetoric was fabricated by Western governments and media outlets.  

China is fully open and welcomes other countries' efforts to strengthen cooperation with Africa. We believe Africa should be a big stage for international cooperation rather than an arena for major countries' competition, Wu Jianghao said.

He said we also believe we should conduct cooperation with Africa on the basis of respect for Africa's sovereignty and practical needs, listening closely to the voices of African countries.

The COVID-19 has greatly disrupted the people-to-people exchange between China and African countries, but our cooperation has continued and some major projects have achieved remarkable results, Wu Peng said.