Xi up­holds spirit of co­op­er­a­tion

New mea­sures of­fered to aid devel­op­ment dur­ing meet­ing of Asian and African lead­ers in Jakarta

China Daily (Canada) - - FRONT PAGE - By WU JIAO in Jakarta and ZHAO SHENGNAN in Bei­jing

The spirit of sol­i­dar­ity, friend­ship and co­op­er­a­tion lives on 60 years af­ter the Ban­dung Con­fer­ence, as Asian and African lead­ers called on Wed­nes­day for a new global or­der in a world that has un­der­gone six decades of dra­matic change.

China, no longer the newly es­tab­lished na­tion it was in 1955, dis­played its will­ing­ness and grow­ing abil­ity to carry this spirit for­ward, as Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping an­nounced new mea­sures to boost co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two con­ti­nents at an Asian-African lead­ers’ meet­ing in Jakarta.

China will grant duty-free sta­tus to 97 per­cent of im­ported prod­ucts within the year for the least-de­vel­oped coun­tries with which it has diplo­matic ties, Xi told dozens of lead­ers at the meet­ing’s open­ing.

China will also con­tinue to of­fer as­sis­tance to de­vel­op­ing coun­tries with no po­lit­i­cal strings at­tached, and will pro­vide 100,000 train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties for de­vel­op­ing na­tions in Asia and Africa within years, he added.

South-North co­op­er­a­tion should be based on mu­tual re­spect and equal­ity, Xi said, em­pha­siz­ing that de­vel­oped coun­tries have a bind­ing obli­ga­tion to help the de­vel­op­ing world and nar­row the South­North gap.

He urged de­vel­oped coun­tries to ful­fill their aid com­mit­ments and in­crease sup­port to de­vel­op­ing na­tions, with no po­lit­i­cal strings at­tached.

The world has changed dramatically since del­e­gates from 29 Asian and African coun­tries gath­ered for the first large-scale Asian-African con­fer­ence, in 1955, in In­done­sia’s her­itage city of Ban­dung, to de­cide their own fu­ture and unite the de­vel­op­ing world’s strug­gle against colo­nial­ism.

They then ac­counted for less than a quar­ter of global eco­nomic out­put, but to­day they con­trib­ute more than half to the global econ­omy. Many of the Ban­dung coun­tries, such as China and In­dia, are now seated at top ta­bles like the G20.

To ad­dress th­ese pro­found changes, Asian and African

five lead­ers called on Wed­nes­day for a new global or­der that is open to emerg­ing eco­nomic pow­ers.

In­done­sian Pres­i­dent Joko Wi­dodo said at the meet­ing that those who still in­sist that global eco­nomic prob­lems could only be re­solved through the World Bank, In­ter­na­tional Mon­e­tary Fund and Asian Devel­op­ment Bank were cling­ing to “ob­so­lete ideas”.

He Wen­ping, a Chi­nese re­searcher on West Asian and African Stud­ies, said Asia and Africa still need to unite for greater clout as the global econ­omy has not fully re­cov­ered from re­ces­sion.

Denise Kodhe, di­rec­tor­gen­eral of the In­sti­tute for Democ­racy and Lead­er­ship in Africa, said China can play the lead in trans­form­ing Africa be­cause China has ex­pe­ri­ence in deal­ing pro­gres­sively with the con­ti­nent. Mo Jingxi in Bei­jing and Hou Liqiang in Nairobi con­trib­uted to this story. Con­tact the writ­ers through wu­jiao@chi­nadaily.com.cn

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