Sunday, December 6, 2015
China, Africa strive further for common development
|News | 06.12.2015 | 00:36|
Xinhua - China proposed on Friday to lift the new type of China-Africa strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, and will roll out 10 major plans to boost cooperation in the coming three years to carry out the upgrade.
Chinese President Xi Jinping made the announcement here in a keynote speech at the opening ceremony of the ongoing Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), sending a strong message to the entire world that China and Africa are further striving for win-win cooperation and common development.
The two-day summit, marking the 15th anniversary of the founding of the FOCAC mechanism and co-chaired by Xi and his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma, also witnessed China's release of an Africa policy paper, the second of its kind since 2006, aimed at further clarifying "China's determination and goodwill to develop friendly and cooperative relations with Africa."
Even long before the inception of the FOCAC mechanism, China and Africa had been a community of common destiny bonded by shared historical experiences and struggle, standing side by side in all weathers and offering help to each other. The two sides' pursuit of win-win cooperation and common development has never attached any political strings.
The establishment of the FOCAC mechanism in 2000 ushered in a new era of mutual benefit and common development for China and Africa, leading to the blossoming of bilateral cooperation in various fields.
"China-Africa relations have today reached a stage of growth unmatched in history," Xi said Friday.
In the economic and trade sector, statistics show that in 2014, two-way trade exceeded 221.9 billion U.S. dollars and China's investment stock in Africa surpassed 30 billion dollars, a 22- and 60-fold increase respectively over the figures in 2000. Meanwhile, the share of China-Africa trade in Africa's total foreign trade has increased from 3.82 percent to 20.5 percent.
By the end of 2014, China's total investment stock in Africa had reached 101 billion U.S. dollars, resulting in more than 3,100 Africa-based enterprises.
China has also provided finance and technical skills to help bridge Africa's infrastructure deficit.
Thanks to China's financial support, an estimated 5,675 km of railways and 4506.9 km of roads either had been built or were under construction across Africa by September this year, along with other infrastructural facilities such as schools and hospitals.
In peacekeeping, China has dispatched the largest number of peacekeepers to African hotspots to maintain peace and stability, and it will provide a total of 60 million U.S. dollars in free aid to the African Union (AU) to improve Africa's peacekeeping ability, Xi announced Friday.
Within the framework of the FOCAC, which groups China, 50 African countries that have established diplomatic ties with China and the AU Commission, cooperation has also flourished in other areas like health, agriculture, arts and culture.
The Chinese government provides Africa with more than 7,000 government scholarships each semester and holds over 100 multilateral and bilateral technical and management training programs and senior officials' workshops for Africa each year.
In his visit to Africa in 2013, Xi put forth the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith, with the purpose of closely combining efforts to help Africa achieve economic independence and sustainable development and thus achieve win-win cooperation and common development with China.
At this summit, Xi's proposal for lifting the new type of the China-Africa strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, and his announcement of the initiatives meant to boost China-Africa cooperation in the coming three years testify to China's strong resolve and goodwill to achieve win-win cooperation and common development for China and Africa.
Furthermore, China will offer 60 billion U.S. dollars of funding support to ensure smooth implementation of the initiatives, which will focus on helping African countries break the three development bottlenecks of backward infrastructure, talent shortage and inadequate funding, accelerate industrialization and agricultural modernization, and realize independent and sustainable development.
Themed Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development, this summit is set to become an important landmark in the development of bilateral ties and open a new era of win-win cooperation and common development for the two sides.
German parliament approves non-combat mission in Syria
|News | 06.12.2015 | 13:50|
PressTV - German lawmakers have endorsed a plan for undertaking a non-combat military mission against the Daesh Takfiri group in Syria.
Members of the German lower house of parliament, or Bundestag, on Friday voted 445 to 146 to approve the plan, which includes reconnaissance jets and up to 1,200 support personnel.
The plan was introduced following Chancellor Angela Merkel's pledge for more support to the fight against Daesh after the group carried out a series of shootings and explosions in Paris, killing over 130.
Germany plans to send up to six Tornado reconnaissance planes and tanker aircraft to Turkey’s Incirlik air base next week. A German frigate will also escort the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle in the eastern Mediterranean, although reports say that it will not engage in any combat mission.
Germany had earlier refused to directly engage in the US-led air campaign against Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and had only provided training to about 5,500 Kurdish Peshmerga fighters.
German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was in Turkey prior to the vote, reiterated that the current airstrikes, which Germany plans to contribute to, are aimed at helping anti-Daesh forces on the ground retake territories from the group’s occupation.
“We need this combination of airstrikes and local ground forces that have a vital interest in winning back territory,” she told a news conference.
German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said on Thursday that no European troops would be deployed on the ground in Syria to fight Daesh, adding that a prolonged conflict in Syria serves nobody's interest and a political approach must be pursued.
"Therefore it [military intervention] will be strongly embedded within an overall concept that places the emphasis on working out a political solution. I venture to say that if we make progress on a political solution, when we really take steps forward, then the military conflict will be of a manageable length."
The US-led coalition airstrikes have widely been criticized as ineffective with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad saying terrorists in Syria have grown in power since the military campaign was launched in September 2014. Reports also show that the air strikes have repeatedly hit Syrian infrastructure. Russia, which recently launched an air campaign of its own in Syria, has also described the coalition attacks on Daesh militants as "sparing."
The US-led coalition's military mission in Syria is being conducted without any authorization from the government in Damascus or a United Nations mandate.