|Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) delivers a speech at the Julius Nyerere International Convention Center in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania, on March 25, 2013. (Xinhua/Wang Ye)
DAR ES SALAAM, March 25 (Xinhua) -- Newly-elected Chinese President Xi Jinping on Monday made a major foreign policy speech on China's relations with Africa at the China-aided Julius Nyerere International Convention Center in Tanzania's economic capital.
Xi, accompanied by Tanzanian President Jakaya Mrisho Kikwete, spoke to a packed auditorium.
He said China will intensify its efforts to expand partnership of mutual benefit with the continent, and pledged to continue to provide assistance including loans and training programs to help African nations.
China-Africa relations have entered "a fast-track of all-round development," said the president, and he gave the credit to the concerted efforts from both sides.
In recent years, bilateral cooperation between China and the continent has produced notable results. In 2012, two-way trade approached 200 billion U.S. dollars. China's accumulated direct investment to Africa topped 15 billion dollars by the end of last year.
Xi said history has shown that China and Africa have always been a community of shared destinies, and similar historical experiences, common development tasks, as well as shared strategic interests have bound the two sides together.
He summed up the defining feature of China-Africa relations as sincerity, friendship, mutual respect, equality, mutual benefit and common development.
"China has done its best to help Africa's development. Yet China is always grateful to African countries and peoples for the firm support and selfless help given to China over the years," he said.
The Chinese leader stressed that China-Africa relations have reached a new historic starting point, with Africa becoming one of the fastest growing regions and forging ahead like a "galloping African lion," and China continuing to enjoy good momentum of development.
In the new environment, China-Africa relations have become more important with greater common interests, instead of less important with fewer common interests, Xi said, adding that "China will intensify, not weaken, its efforts to expand relations with Africa," he said.
ASSISTANCE & MUTUAL SUPPORT
While elaborating on China's future policies towards the continent, Xi said China and Africa will continue to support each other on issues involving their core interests and major concerns, and China will remain committed to Africa's endeavor to "independently" resolve regional issues and make greater contribution to peace and security in Africa.
"Unity and cooperation with African countries have always been an important foundation for China's foreign policy, which will never change, not even when China grows stronger and enjoys a higher international status," he said.
The Chinese president also called on other nations to respect Africa's "dignity and independence" as they develop their relations with the continent, adding that there is no "one-size-fits-all" development model in the world.
On China's assistance to the continent, Xi said China will continue to expand investment and financing cooperation with Africa, and follow through on the commitment of providing a 20-billion-U.S.-dollar credit line to African nations from 2013 to 2015.
He said China will promote cooperation that could generate "real results" with African nations in such sectors as transnational and trans-regional infrastructure, agriculture, manufacturing, adding that China will help the continent train 30,000 professionals, and provide 18,000 government scholarships to African students from 2013 to 2015.
"China will continue to offer, as always, necessary assistance to Africa with no political strings attached," he said.
Meanwhile, Xi said China will face squarely and sincerely the new developments and new problems confronting relations with Africa.
The two sides should properly handle any problem that may arise in a spirit of mutual respect and win-win cooperation, he said.
Tanzania is the second leg of Xi's first overseas trip after assuming the presidency. He had already visited Russia.
Later on Monday, the Chinese leader arrived in South Africa for a state visit. In the country, he will also attend the fifth BRICS summit in the port city of Durban on March 26-27, the first to be held on the African continent.
Xi will wrap up his maiden overseas trip as China's top leader in the Republic of the Congo.