Beijing Declaration of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, 12 October 2000

We, the Ministers in charge of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Co-operation, Economic or Social Affairs from China and African countries, met in Beijing from 10 to 12 October 2000 for the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation Ministerial Conference 2000, the first gathering of its kind in the history of China-Africa relations.

We had an extensive exchange of views on international affairs and the state of relations between China and African countries. We agree that the China-Africa Co-operation Forum is a framework for collective dialogue between China and African countries on the basis of equality and mutual benefit and that to seek peace and development is our common objective.

We realise that at the dawn of a new century, there still exist serious destabilising factors in the world and a huge gab between the rich North and the poor South and that peace and development are far from being fully realised.

We reaffirm that the injustice and inequality in the current international system are incompatible with the trend of the times towards world peace and development, hinder the development of the countries of the South and pose threats to international peace and security. We stress that the establishment of a just and equitable new international political and economic order is indispensable for the democratisation of international relations and for the effective participation of developing countries in the international process of decision-making.

We believe that it is of vital importance to world peace and security to carry out general and complete disarmament and the prohibition of all weapons of mass destruction.

We note that globalisation makes all economies more inter-dependent, but it benefits developed countries more while putting most developing countries, especially small and vulnerable economies and the least developed countries in Africa, at a disadvantage and subjecting their economic security or even state sovereignty to severe challenges.

We recall the courageous struggle waged by African countries and people for independence and their commendable post-independence efforts for the growth of their national economy and note that African countries and the African continent as a whole are still faced with many difficulties and challenges in their process of development.

We note, with grave concern, that efforts over the years have failed to bring about political, economic and social stability in some African countries and stress that economic and social factors are at the root of political instability, social tensions and frequent conflicts in Africa. Moreover, the scourge of HIV/AIDS, malaria, TB and other communicable diseases is taking a heavy toll on the human and economic resources of African countries, and the aggravated poverty is seriously hindering the development of Africa.

We stress that heavy debt burden has impeded the development efforts of African countries and impoverished their economies. We believe that the international community has the responsibility and obligation to help solve the African debt problem.

We are highly appreciative of the stable development of Sino-African relations over the past decades; have full confidence in the future Co-operation; and agree that there exists a solid foundation for friendly relations and Co-operation between China and Africa, given their time-honoured traditional friendship. We also emphasise that both China and African countries are developing countries with common fundamental interests and believe that close consultation between the two sides on international affairs is of great importance to consolidating solidarity among developing countries and facilitating the establishment of a new international order.

We review the development of co-operation between China and African countries in the economic, trade and other areas, and realise that there are considerable potentials for such co-operation. We believe that this co-operation is part of South-South co-operation and that to strengthen this co-operation services the immediate and long-term interests of both China and African countries.

We hereby solemnly declare that :

The purposes and principles of the UN Charter and the Charter of the Organisation of African Unity (OAU), the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence and other universally recognised principles governing relations among states must be respected. All countries should have the right to participate in international affairs, on an equal footing. No country, or group of countries, has the right to impose its will on others, to interfere, under whatever pretext, in other countries' internal affairs, or to impose unilateral coercive economic measures on others. The North and the South should strengthen their dialogue and co-operation on the basis of equality.

The principle of peaceful settlement of international disputes must be adhered to. Disputes between states should be resolved through negotiation, consultation or other peaceful means, rather than through force, or threat of force, including nuclear threat. All the nuclear-weapon-states must undertake not to be the first to use nuclear weapons and not to use, or threaten to use, nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states or regions. All the parties concerned should strive to advance the process of disarmament and nuclear non-proliferation, with a view to realising the ultimate goal of complete prohibition and through destruction of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction, so as to ensure security to all countries. We support efforts to create new nuclear-weapon-free zones, freely subscribed to by the countries concerned.
The two sides are ready to enhance their co-operation in stopping the illicit proliferation, circulation and trafficking of small arms and light weapons.

The primary role of the UN Security Council in safeguarding world peace and security should be respected and enhanced and vigorous efforts should be made to push forward the reform of the United Nations and international financial institutions. The developing countries should be more adequately represented in the UN Security Council and international economic and financial institutions so as to fully reflect the democratic principle governing international relations. In this respect, we call for the recognition of the legitimate place due to Africa in the Security Council and the organisations and specialised agencies of the United Nations system.

The universality of human rights and fundamental freedoms should be respected and the diversity of the world and the principle of seeking common ground while reserving differences must be upheld and carried forward. Each country has the right to choose, in its course of development, its own social system, development model and way of life in light of its national conditions. Countries, that vary from one another in social systems, stages of development, historical and cultural background and values, have the right to choose their own approaches and models in promoting and protecting human rights in their own countries. Moreover, the politicisation of human rights and the imposition of human rights conditionalities on economic assistance should be vigorously opposed to as they constitute a violation of human rights.

The principle of conducting mutually beneficial co-operation and seeking common development should be advocated. Developed countries have the responsibility and obligation to provide financial, technological and other assistance to developing countries, African countries in particular. They should work out feasible development programs for and co-operate with them on the basis of equality and mutual benefit with a view to achieving common development for both the North and the South. The developing countries, on their part, should unite and co-ordinate with each other more closely, maximising advances while minimising disadvantages and adversities, as well as tackle together challenges brought about by globalisation.

We welcome efforts made by the African countries to enhance sub-regional co-operation and further consolidate African unity by establishing the African Union. We urge the international community and international organisations to support the measures adopted by African countries for this purpose. All parties concerned should commit themselves to solidarity, peace and development of Africa and properly settle the conflicts. We appreciate the active role by OAU and other relevant regional and sub-regional organisations in resolving African conflicts. The international community, especially the United Nations, should give special attention to the resolution of conflicts in Africa. In this connection, it should adopt all necessary measures, including formulating effective peacekeeping programs and relief plans.

We appreciate the efforts made by African countries and the international community to combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other infectious/communicable diseases, as well as the actions undertaken to eradicate poverty. In this respect, we welcome the initiative to establish a World Solidarity Fund and call for vigorous support by appropriate institutions for the establishment of this Fund.

We agree to work together to improve co-operation in the fight against terrorism, with a view to eliminating this phenomenon in all its forms and manifestations.

We welcome the laudable efforts made by certain middle income countries and other bilateral initiatives by donors aimed at the cancellation of African official debts. We appreciate the recent enhancement of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative, geared at relieving the debt burden and alleviating poverty, particularly in Africa. We stress that the HIPC initiative is being undertaken against the background of the decline in ODA to historical levels and that the rescheduling of Africa's debt must not be conducted with political strings attached or at the expense of official development assistance. We strongly appeal to the relevant international financial institutions and creditor developed countries to adopt more concrete measures aimed at debt relief and reduction for the least developed and middle income African countries. We welcome concrete measures and contribution to be made in this regard by China, a developing country itself.

We are determined to further consolidate and expand China-Africa co-operation at all levels and in all fields and to establish within the framework of South-South co-operation a new-type long-term and stable partnership based on equality and mutual benefit. We will deepen dialogue, broaden consensus, continue to harmonise our positions on international affairs and enhance mutual support so as to uphold the legitimate rights and interests of China and African countries and to expand and deepen this new-type partnership between China and African countries.

We decide to vigorously promote further China-Africa co-operation in the economic, trade, financial, agricultural, medical care and public health, scientific and technological, cultural, educational, human resources development, transportation, environmental, tourism and other areas on the basis of the principles enshrined in this Declaration and the Program for China-Africa Co-operation in Economic and Social Development adopted at the Forum so as to promote the common development of China and Africa.

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