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Xi upholds spirit of cooperation

2015-04-23 08:50:17Source:China DailyAuthor:

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

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 five 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 South-North 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 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, director-general 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.