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Chinese vice president calls for stronger FOCAC

 PRETORIA, South Africa, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping on Thursday called here for concerted efforts to make the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) stronger and to boost the development of the new type of China- Africa strategic partnership.

Addressing a seminar marking the 10th anniversary of the establishment of FOCAC, Xi proposed to strengthen strategic planning, practical cooperation and institution building of FOCAC so as to make it a solid base for political mutual trust, a major engine driving common development and an efficient and mature platform for China-Africa cooperation.

Meanwhile, more cultural and people-to-people exchanges should be conducted to make FOCAC an emotional bond to deepen China- Africa traditional friendship, said Xi.

Xi stressed that China and African countries have to continue to respect, trust and support each other and treat each other as equals. The two sides should stand at a strategic high as they draw plans for the development of China-Africa relations, and should have closer dialogue and consultation within the FOCAC framework, enhance coordination and cooperation on global issues of mutual interest, strive to increase the say and representation of developing countries in the international system, and ensure better development of both China and Africa as the international configuration further evolves.

Referring to China-Africa cooperation, Xi said it should be expanded to new areas and brought to higher levels. "We will enlarge the scale of China-Africa trade, and optimize the trade structure. We will cooperate with Africa in infrastructure construction and actively explore cooperation on transnational projects. We will promote export of African goods to China, facilitate investment and technology transfer to Africa, provide more job opportunities for the African people and enhance African countries' capacity in self development so as to bring more benefits to the African people. China will continue to do its best to increase assistance to Africa, optimize the structure of assistance, and focus the assistance projects on education, agriculture, health, poverty reduction and other projects concerning people's lives as well as energy conservation and environmental protection," he said.

As new problems and new challenges appearing in the second decade of the 21st century, Xi said China and African countries need to properly handle them and to explore new ways and new thinking for FOCAC development in light of the new conditions and new trends in the world economy and in China-Africa relations.

"We should be innovative in seeking new development concept and new cooperation model of FOCAC, and give full play to the initiative and creativity of African members of FOCAC. We should strengthen cooperation with the African Union and sub-regional organizations in Africa and actively explore cooperation with other parties in the international community so as to strengthen FOCAC's synergy and influence," said Xi.

He also called for expanded contacts and cooperation between the governments in such fields as education, science and technology, culture and tourism, and closer ties between political parties, localities, nongovernmental organizations, academic institutions and the news media.

Launched in 2000, FOCAC is a platform for collective consultation and dialogue between China and the states in Africa.

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