Friday, February 22, 2019

China, Africa in Key Peace and Security Drive
 22 FEB, 2019 - 00:02 
Tenda H. Manzvanzvike
Group Foreign Editor
Zimbabwe Herald

Since the introduction of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), a number of milestones have been achieved with both parties continuing to ensure the deepening of relations, including in peace and security issues.

The first Dialogue “on the Implementation of China-Africa Peace and Security Initiative”, meant to reinforce Sino-Africa collaboration was held in the Ethiopian capital Addis Ababa on February 6, where Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Mr Chen Xiaodong, presented a keynote address outlining a number of interventions to be taken by China.

The dialogue’s mission was to: “create synergy in thinking and action between the two sides, put forward suggestions on how to implement the peace and security initiative … and build momentum for China-Africa peace and security cooperation.”

Mr Chen told delegates about the importance of a peaceful Africa, maintaining that peace and stability on the continent “bears on the security of the whole world.”

Mr Chen said despite improvements in recent years, “risks and challenges facing Africa’s peace cannot be overlooked.” He said China as a permanent member of the UNSC continued to play a pivotal and positive role on Africa regarding peace and security issues.

“Anything that is conducive to Africa’s stability would enjoy China’s support, and anything that undermines Africa’s peace and stability would meet China’s opposition,” said Mr Chen.

As a major funding partner in peacekeeping, China has so far contributed 75 percent in financial contributions for Africa. “At China’s proposal to the (UN) fund has made peace and development initiatives of African countries its priority,” Mr Chen told the delegates at the “Dialogue”.

He added that out of 56 projects that had been given the nod, African countries were the major recipients, “with projects ranging from peacekeeping, counter-terrorism capacity building, mediation, to sustainable development, migration and refugee affairs.”

Mr Chen also said China is “actively involved in mediating hotspot issues”, assisting African people in resolving issues their own way, which is in line with China’s policy on non-interference.

The Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister said there was room for both parties to “explore new dimensions for dialogue on peace and security policy”.

He also suggested the need to build a cohesive a community through improved “strategic security communication and policy dialogue”, emphasising: “We need to take real actions to build a community with a shared future, pursue common security, and ensure that the voice and will of Africa are truly respected.”

Mr Chen also said there was need to “build capacity on peace and security.” “China takes Africa’s concerns seriously, and focuses on its priority and most urgent needs in peace capacity building.” He also said China will continue to be Africa’s major donor: “China will continue to deliver on its US$100 million military aid to the AU (African Union) and the additional US$80 million military aid in support of the African Standby Force and the African Capacity for Immediate Response to Crisis.”

Mr Chen said Sino-Africa relations have a brighter future suggesting that, “going forward, a more integrated, comprehensive and sustainable approach will be adopted whereby both traditional security threats will be actively addressed, both bilateral channels and multilateral cooperation will be employed.”

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