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China Daily Website  

China opens permanent mission to AU

Updated: 2015-05-08 10:09

ADDIS ABABA - China has officially opened its permanent mission to the African Union headquarters in Addis Ababa on Thursday to further strengthen its diplomatic relations with countries of the continent through the Pan Africa body.

This move made China the first country to have a fully dedicated official mission to the African Union Commission (AUC), a move the commission praised as an indication of commitment of China towards the prosperity of the continent.

Zhang Ming, Vice-Foreign Minister of China and Dr. Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, Chairperson of the African Commission inaugurated the mission which will be led by the newly appointed veteran diplomat, Kuang Weilin, as the first Head of Mission.

The mission, set to have political, economic, cultural, peace and security departments, is said to benefit comprehensive cooperation and exchange between China and the AU.

It is expected to further scale up the existing good relations between China and Africa.

After the inauguration, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission congratulated the People's Republic of China for opening "this dedicated mission to the AU" and told the huge presentation of the diplomatic community at the AU headquarter that her organization sees the move as an indication of the Chinese commitment towards the development of the continent.

"This is a clear indication of commitment of China who has been our historic partner as Africans over a long period of time," she said.

"(By opening the mission), you have recognized that the time is now to strengthen the relation between Africa and the People's Republic of China," she said.

Mentioning high level visits of the Chinese government to the AU, Zuma said "China always sees Africa as a strategic partner." She said the country has a lot of experience in working with the AU member states and "this will help in taking our relationship forward."

The chairperson assured China that the AU is ready to work and "take this relationship to a different level."

Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Ming said the mission will enable China to better coordinate its major projects on the continent and enhance its diplomatic activities.

Since 2005, Chinese ambassadors to Ethiopia have also been the representatives to the AU. The establishment of the mission was announced during Premier Li Keqiang's visit to the AU headquarters last year.

In 2005, Zhang said, China was the first country to send a permanent representative to the AU. "Today it became the first to open a permanent mission to the organization."

"China is ready to strengthen cooperation with the AU to push the new China-Africa strategic partnership to a new high," Kuang said in his inaugural address to the gathering.

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