|Wang Yi Briefs on the Chinese Foreign Minister's Tradition of Choosing Africa as First Destination of a Year and the "Four Staunch Supports" Conveyed during His Visit|
On January 5, 2021 local time, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Nigerian Foreign Affairs Minister Geoffrey Onyeama jointly met the press in Abuja, Nigeria. When being asked why visiting Africa at the risk of virus infection and the main goals of his visit, Wang Yi answered, it is a good tradition of Chinese diplomacy that the foreign minister always begins a year's overseas visits in Africa. The Chinese side hopes to showcase the great importance China attaches to Africa, the unshakable friendship between China and its African brothers and the staunch support of China for the development and prosperity of African countries with this practical action. This year's COVID-19 pandemic cannot break the tradition which has been passed down for 30 years in a row or scare us off because of our firm commitment to our original aspiration in weal and woe. African countries also look forward to seeing their Chinese friends. Thus, the Chinese side is willing to carry on the tradition and still make the first overseas tour to Africa in spite of the difficulties brought about by the pandemic in a bid to navigate through thick and thin, promote cooperation and pursue the future together with Africa.
Wang Yi said, his present African tour, covering Nigeria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Botswana, Tanzania and Seychelles, is aimed at conveying to the outside four clear messages about the joint efforts of China and Africa to build a closer community with a shared future:
First, China staunchly supports Africa in combating the coronavirus. We will never forget the strong support Africa has offered to China in the face of the COVID-19 onslaught. China has also provided 53 African countries and the African Union with anti-pandemic supplies to meet the urgent needs of some countries. In particular, the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity Against COVID-19 held in June 2020 at the call of President Xi Jinping has charted a course of strategic importance for the joint fight against the disease until the final victory. China is willing to implement the outcomes of the Summit, continue to provide medical and material aid to African countries in need, dispatch teams of medical experts, carry out exchanges of medical treatment experience, spur cooperation between paired-up Chinese and African hospitals, build the headquarters of the Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, and improve Africa's public health emergency response capacity. Meanwhile, China commits itself to ensuring the accessibility and affordability of vaccines in Africa to help locals defeat the virus at an earlier date.
Second, China staunchly supports Africa in accelerating economic recovery. China is willing to establish "fast tracks" for flow of the people with African countries in need, orderly facilitate resuming the construction of major cooperation projects in Africa, accelerate the Belt and Road cooperation, and help Africa stabilize its economy, secure employment and improve people's livelihood. China congratulates the official launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area and is ready to support the integration process in Africa. We will also encourage Chinese enterprises to increase investment in Africa and support Africa in advancing industrialization, so that African can achieve independent and sustainable development as soon as possible.
Third, China staunchly supports the quality improvement and upgrading of its cooperation with Africa. Despite the pandemic disruptions, over 70 percent of the outcomes of the 2018 Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) have been implemented, and remarkable progress has been scored in the "eight major initiatives" with African countries, with the initiatives on industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, health care and people-to-people exchanges warmly welcomed by Africa. Both sides are planning to hold a new meeting of the FOCAC this year. Wang Yi will discuss with his African colleagues about how to ensure the goals of the Beijing Summit are accomplished on schedule and to jointly prepare for the upcoming meeting of the FOCAC, so that China-Africa cooperation in the post-pandemic era will develop in a direction of higher quality and more beneficial to people's livelihood.
Fourth, China staunchly supports Africa in enhancing its international influence. As the world is experiencing major changes unseen in a century, China and Africa are natural partners. Facing an international situation of turbulences and changes, China is willing to, together with Africa, strengthen strategic communication on major regional and international issues, hold high the banner of multilateralism, safeguard the common interests of developing countries, oppose external interferences and defend fairness and justice to jointly make the international order more impartial and reasonable.