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Chinese premier's Africa tour gains international praise

12 May 2014, 21:40

Beijing - Chinese Premier Li Keqiang's Africa tour and its efforts to further promote cooperation with Africa and take their strategic partnership to a higher level has received plaudits from around the world.

On Sunday, Li wrapped up his eight-day, four-nation tour, which took him to Ethiopia, the African Union headquarters, Nigeria, Angola and Kenya, and sent him to fruitful meetings with African leaders on detailed cooperation and common development plans between the world's largest developing nation and the continent of hope.

In an article titled "Kenya finds in China a new able partner in her march to progress and prosperity", published Saturday by Kenya's Standard newspaper, Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta wrote that Premier Li's visit, which coincides with the 50th anniversary of China's late Premier Zhou Enlai's first visit to Africa, "will deepen the friendship between our two peoples, which dates back to the 15th century."

Li's visit will also take in "the most modern forms of assistance and cooperation," Kenyatta said.

Andrew Brooks, an expert on African issues at King's College of the University of London, said: "There was a remarkable continuity in terms of China's approach to Africa."

"Many of the soundbites and terms which are coming out of Premier Li's visit are very similar to (former Chinese President) Hu Jintao back in 2006. The phrases, the ideas, and the soundbites which keep occurring are ideas around South-South cooperation, friendship and mutual dependency," Brooks told Xinhua.

Nigerian Foreign Minister Aminu Bashir Wali noted that Li's visit to Nigeria would be of vital importance in helping the Nigerian people rise out of poverty and strengthening his country's cooperation with China.

Modibo Bah Kone, a Malian expert on China, said it was time for Africa to notice the sincerity of the Chinese leadership, which wished to strengthen cooperation with Africa while abandoning the prejudicial and stereotyped remarks against China coined by the Western press.

He also applauded China's principles of non-interference and mutual benefit, as well as its unconditional assistance in its cooperation with African countries.

Meanwhile, Russia's Itar-Tass news agency hailed Li's first Africa trip as premier, saying it would open up a new page in China-Africa cooperation.

China's existence in Africa had boosted African countries' economic growth, and bilateral ties were mutually beneficial, the agency said.

Phay Siphan, secretary of state at the Cambodian Council of Ministers, said China had been "bringing hope and happiness to the people in African countries through providing aid to those countries for social and economic development."

Chheang Vannarith, senior researcher of the Cambodian Institute for Cooperation and Peace and lecturer of Asia Pacific Studies at the University of Leeds in Britain, said China was trying to build a new type of strategic partnership with Africa focused on trade, investment, infrastructure, poverty reduction, and cultural exchanges.

"Africa is the future, and the 22nd century may be the century of Africa," he said, adding China's support would enable Africa to realize its dream and help Africa further connect and share development and prosperity.

- Xinhua


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