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UPDATED: December 10, 2006 NO.44 NOV.2, 2006
Partners in Development
China and Africa embrace common development as they cooperate with each other in diverse fields, including energy

A new milestone in the history of China-Africa relations will be created when African leaders gather in Beijing with their Chinese counterparts for the first summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and its Third Ministerial Conference in early November.

Africa is high on China's diplomatic agenda this year. To date, four major events have thrust China-Africa relations into the media spotlight at home and abroad. Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing kicked off a tour to Cape Verde, Senegal, Mali, Liberia, Nigeria and Libya on January 11. The Chinese Government released China's African Policy, its first ever policy paper on Africa, on January 12. President Hu Jintao visited Morocco, Nigeria and Kenya April 24-29. Premier Wen Jiabao toured Egypt, Ghana, Republic of the Congo, Angola, South Africa, Tanzania and Uganda through June 17-24.

The series of events speak of the great importance the Chinese Government and leaders attach to China-Africa relations. At the same time, they are indicative of the fact that China-Africa relations have moved into an era of rapid development characterized by cooperation, half a century after the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties.

With the end of the Cold War in the early 1990s, Africa lost its much-valued geopolitical status. As a result, the attention the West devotes to Africa has been constantly on the decline. The continent is being marginalized in the diplomatic strategies of major Western countries. However, China is as always committed to developing relations with Africa. While cementing their economic and trade ties that began to expand in the 1980s, China sees great value in fostering an across-the-board relationship with Africa by forging closer political, cultural and educational links.

The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, established in 2000, provides an institutionalized platform for enhancing bilateral exchanges and cooperation. China's African Policy white paper and the suggestions raised by Hu on developing a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership during his Africa trip in April have not only clearly defined the nature of China-Africa relations but also charted the future course for the relations.

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