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China and Africa envision new security cooperation

By Wang Wei
Friday, July 09, 2010

Public security conditions in Africa have been stable in recent years. Peace and development have become the mainstream in some African countries. However, abnormal shifts of political power and regional unrest remain in places such as Somalia, Darfur, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Moreover, Africa faces increasing pressure from untraditional security problems such as food safety, terrorism, climate change, proliferation of small arms, and refugees and the spread of disease.

African countries need help from the international community to establish and maintain lasting peace and safety. China has always put a lot of emphasis on Africa's security issues and supported African countries and organizations to solve conflicts independently.

First of all, China continues to strengthen cooperation with African organizations within the framework of Charter of the United Nations. As a permanent member state, China actively promotes discussion and solution of African issues and calls on the UN and competent countries to offer more help to improve Africa's ability to prevent and solve regional conflicts.

China made an explicit promise to cooperate with Africa in public security in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation-Addis Ababa Action Plan on December 26, 2003. It stated: "We are resolved to step up cooperation and work together to support an even greater role of the United Nations, the African Union and other sub-regional African organizations in preventing, mediating and resolving conflicts in Africa. We will continue to pay attention to the issue of African refugees and displaced persons. China will continue its active participation in the peacekeeping operations and de-mining process in Africa and provide, within the limits of its capabilities, financial and material assistance as well as relevant training to the Peace and Security Council of the African Union. In order to strengthen the capacity of African states to undertake peacekeeping operations, we look forward to the strengthening of China's cooperation with African States and Sub -regional organizations in the areas of logistics."

The two sides will also focus on untraditional security and anti-terrorism issues. They view terrorism as a threat to peace and security of all countries and want it fought through effective cooperation.

China described the security cooperation details in China's African Policy, which was published in January 2006. It covered cooperation in military affairs, conflict solving, peace keeping, judicial and police affairs and untraditional security issues.

In the Declaration of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation published by the Chinese government in November 2006, China called on the international community to encourage and support Africa's efforts to pursue peace and development and provide greater assistance to African countries in peaceful resolution of conflicts and post-war reconstruction.

China also said it will continue to strengthen its cooperation with the AU and sub-regional organizations and institutions in Africa, support the AU's leading role in resolving African issues, and take an active part in UN peacekeeping operations in Africa in the Forum On China-Africa Cooperation Beijing Action Plan (2007-2009) in 2006.

The Chinese government made a promise again in Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Sharm el-Sheikh Action Plan (2010-2012) in 2009. It pledged it would continue to support the UN Security Council in playing a constructive role in solving conflicts in Africa and continue to support and participate in UN peacekeeping missions. It intended to strengthen cooperation with countries concerned in the UN Peace Building Commission and support countries in their post-war reconstruction processes.

At the same time, the Chinese government appreciates the practice of African solving their own problems. China will continue to support the efforts of the AU, other regional organizations and countries concerned to solve regional conflicts, and will intensify cooperation with African countries in peacekeeping theory research, peacekeeping training and exchanges and in supporting the building of peacekeeping capacity in Africa.

China has actively participated in peacekeeping missions in Africa, which has become a major area of Chinese peacekeeping activities. China has sent tens of thousands of people to participate in 12 UN peacekeeping missions in Africa. China first sent an organized peacekeeping force to the DRC in December 2002. In the past three years, China has sent 6,281 soldiers and police. Currently, 1,629 Chinese work in six UN peacekeeping areas of Africa.

In addition, the Chinese government also offers financial aid to Africa. Premier Wen Jiabao provided $1 million in cash to the Africa Union to support the peacekeeping mission in Sudan during his visit to the DRC in June 2006. China donated $300,000 to the AU's Somali peacekeeping mission in 2008, and a check of $400,000 in August 2009.

The Somali escort is a good example of Chinese-African anti-terrorism cooperation. The Chinese navy has sent six naval escort flotillas to the Gulf of Aden.

Promoting China-Africa security cooperation is an indispensable choice for both sides. It has become an important part of the strategic cooperation and will lay a solid foundation for the development of mutual political trust between the two.

The author is a researcher of China Institute of International Studies.

(This article was translated by Ren Zhongxi.)

Source: China.org.cn