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Full Text of the Interview by Ambassador Kuang Weilin with the Daily Monitor
2015-10-12 12:54

China has officially opened its permanent mission to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa this year and you are leading the mission– what specific duties the mission have been given to uphold unlike the existing embassyof China?

Last year Chinese government decided to set up separate mission to the African Union apart from the embassy in Ethiopia. That was strategic decision. Our premier minister last year made a very successful visit to Ethiopia and to the AU. During his visit to AU, he and the Chairperson of AU agreed that both sides will strengthen cooperation on infrastructure, namely on railway, highway, regional aviation and industrialization.The premier alsoannounced that China would set upits permanent mission into the AU. Therefore, I am here mainly to implement the consensus reached by the two sides and the projects. Early this year China and the AU signed Memorandum of Understandingon big cooperation projects. So, my job is to implement the programs, andto handle relationship and cooperation with the AU.

Under the new circumstances China needs to work with the AU. Actually, we are overtaken by the new developments. That is why we are having the separate mission here in order to move ahead and keep pressed with times.

What is your jurisdiction to communicate with other African countries which are residing in Addis Ababa?

Ambassador La Yifan (Chinese ambassador to Ethiopia) handles the bilateral issues while my responsibility is to handle multilateral relationship namely our relationship with the AU.

During over the past six months I met with many diplomats and ambassadors who are also appointed as representative to the AU. I have lot of discussions with the ambassadors about our relationship with the AU as well as China’s relationship with other African countries.

After therecent economic slowdownI China we have learned that your government has now entered into a new form of economic restructuring called ‘new normal’. What will that possibly cause to Ethiopia and Africa?

Yes, it is true that China’s economy has slow down in recent years because of the global economic situation. We have also seen some fluctuations in the financial markets at some point and the devaluation of Chinese currency.Thus, people are worried and some people said that maybe our relationship with Africa will be affected in general and relation and cooperation with Ethiopia in particular. That is not true.

China’s economy is now going through a transition, we call it the state of ‘new normal’ and this is something very natural which the traditional is being replaced with new ones. We are also moving from extensive model of growth to intensive production and also we are moving away from overreliance on investment to a kind of balance between consumption and investment.

This is a kind of naturalization, ups and downs in growth are happily allowable but again the fundamentals in China’s economy remain very sound. The economy has stabilized and the economy is growing with reasonable range. We are not worried about the current situation of the economy, rather we are confident that within reform and restructuring of the economy with the new emphasis on mass entrepreneurships and innovation the country will be able to maintain medium and high level of economic growth.

Thus, the development in China’s economy will be more innovation driven, will be more efficient, and more sustainable. I am very confident that we will maintain very good and sound level of economy.

China’s ambitiously growing trading partnership with the African continent has become a lot to do, therefore, what is your assurance for African economies?

The cooperation between China and Africa is now face with great opportunities. Both sides maintained good political relationship based on mutual trust where high level exchanges 0f visit have been maintained.

China and Africa have reached consensus how to further promote win-win cooperation especially in the field of industrialization.Both China and Africahave their own advantages. Africa has cheap labor, hard working people, huge markets and reach natural resources, while China has experience, capital, good policies, management technology and equipment which is suitable for African needs and also China is in the process of upgrading its industrialization.

China needs to transfer its surplus industrial capacity investment to Africa. Therefore, China really can provide what Africa needs, and Africa now needs to move forward in the industrialization process. I think China and Africa are a perfect match. I am very confident the cooperation with Africa in various fields will be upgraded with new areas of cooperation.

It seems positive for Africa as Chinese manufacturing moverstodestine in the continent. What do you think these industries to become another threat for the environment?

What we are striving for is to upgrade our relationship and cooperation with Africa. China needs to transfer its good technology, equipment and products which are needed by Africa. We need to deepen cooperation with Africa and help Africa to achieve its industrialization goals. I am sure that China is ready to do more in this regard, and industrialization cooperation to be one of the focuses of the bilateral cooperation between China and Africa.

As far as China is concerned we will certainly make sure that China’s development programs will be compatible with the development programs of Africa.On the other hand, Chinadefinitely will not take the same route as the old colonialists took. We will not strengthen and conduct cooperation with Africa at the expense of environment, at the expense of long term interest of Africa rather we will make sure that the long term interest of Africa will be protected and reserved.

Climate change is very much in the minds of China. We do everything we can to make sure the bilateral cooperation will not be at the expense of Africa’s longterm interest. We will defiantly adopted different approaches from what we have seen in the 19th century taken by old colonials.

However China becomes this much big in the African continent it is still China that is being referredto sitting on the fencefor any kind of political affairs involvement with the countries it is cooperating. How fardo you believe that will remain lucrative for Chinese government?

It has been China’s policy for long time not to interfere in the internal affairs of the other countries including African countries. We do not want others to interfere in the internal affairs of China that is the basic principle of China’s diplomacy. I think, this policy is welcomed by most African countries and the policy is simply different from that adopted by other countries – it is unique and we will simply stick toit.

On the other had as time passes by on the request of African countries China simply will be willing to do more for Africa in the field of peace and security. China will play more active role in this regard. China can provide assistance for African countries in the effort to maintain peace and security. Because, to us without peace and security there will be no development. Peace and security are the prerequisite for development.

Recently, U.S. President Barack Obama has paid official visit to East Africa.Do you think that has something to do with Chinese growing business in Africa?

Well, as Chinese ambassador I would refrain from making specific comments on this. Certainly, that visit was very important. As far as I am concerned, China does not want to criticize other countries on public for their policies, but what we do is simply to be focused on what should be done – trying to do good job in an effort to help Africa develop their economies and eradicate poverty. We simply want to work closely with other countries to make joint contributions to their development.

And I think,even the development of Africa needs joint efforts of China and US.

Will there be any new strategy that China may follow towards Africa in the near future?

The current policy of China will be maintained. We will do more to strive forward the better relationship of cooperation with Africa. China and Africa are having good opportunities for closer cooperation which industrialization will be one of the focus points, including agricultural modernization, health care, people to people exchanges, and peace and security. We want to work with more people in Africa.

Despite your economic involvement what do you think your role should be in solving African political turmoil?

On the whole we think that Africa is moving towards the right direction and is developing. We are very confident and optimistic about the prospects of Africa. Regarding the troubles, I think, we would like to see that African Union andregional organizations can play a very important role.

We also think that it will be good for Africa if African issues would be resolved by African themselves in African way. However, in an effort to resolve African issues China is ready to help and provide necessary assistance because it is China’s policy not to interfere on internal affairs of African countries.

What are the expectations from forum onChina-Africa cooperation – FOCAC?

The FOCAC meeting will be very important for relationship between China and Africa.

Over the past 15 years great achievements have been made sinceFOCAC mechanism was established. Cooperation has been strengthened and many projects have been completed. FOCAC benefited Africa and I am sure this time the meeting will be a crucial for the relationship of cooperation for the next few years.

On the upcoming 6th Forum in South Africa a lot of important issues will be discussed which includes industrialization, healthcare, agriculture, people to people exchanges and peace and security.

In addition, China is ready to do more to help Africa resolve three key issues – food, health and peace. We want to do more in these three areas. What is most important here is also industrialization which the meeting will discuss in detail.

And as far as our relationship with Ethiopia is concerned the relationship is excellent. Our relationship with Ethiopia is a model. China supported Ethiopia’s mega projects, this testifies the level of our relationship.

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