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Overseas experts, scholars laud Xi's speech at Asian-African summit
2015-04-23

Chinese President Xi Jinping's speech at an Asian-African summit Wednesday will help carry forward the Bandung Spirit and promote cooperation between the two continents, overseas experts and scholars said.

Patrick Maluki, a lecturer at the University of Nairobi's school of diplomacy, said the "Look East" policy adopted by many African countries has been inspired by China's achievements in many fronts.

"The cooperation between Asian and African countries is bound to succeed since we have shared history and future goals," he said.

He added that guided by the Bandung Spirit, cooperation between Asia and Africa will be further promoted.

"The Bandung Spirit will rekindle our shared dreams with Asia and chart a new course in our path to economic prosperity, political rejuvenation, peace and sustainable development," Maluki said.

Joshua Kivuva, a political scientist at the same university, also expressed optimism about future cooperation between Africa and China.

"In Africa, we have realized rapid progress due to partnership with China and other economic powers in Southeast Asia," he said.

The expert predicted a new blueprint after the summit for the future socioeconomic development of the world's two fastest growing continents, as well as their cooperation in such fields as trade and science and technology.

"There could be challenges based on our different political and cultural systems but they should not blur the bigger vision of realizing shared growth and prosperity," he said.

In the view of Bethwel Kinuthia, an economist at the University of Nairobi, African countries will greatly benefit from China's "Belt and Road" initiatives, namely the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road.

"China's proposed 21st Century Maritime Silk Road will definitely revive ancient trade routes that were the bedrock of civilization across a vast swath of the world," he said.

He said that historically, the Asia-Pacific region had fueled global trade that immensely benefited Africa, adding the creation of a robust trade route linking African and Chinese markets will ultimately boost economic growth on the African continent.

"The Silk Road will enhance interactions among Asian and African people, promote friendship and knowledge sharing in diverse fields like education, technology, culture, agriculture, manufacturing and medicine," he said.

Asanga Abeyagoonasekera, former chairman of the International Relations and Strategy Research Institute of Sri Lanka, said that the core of the Bandung Spirit is to promote cooperation between Asia and Africa and that China has played a key role in this regard.

"President Xi's wish to strengthen this cooperation as good friends and brothers is a very important remark at a time when both Asia and Africa are facing many challenges to improve the economic environment in many nations, including Sri Lanka," he said.

"What's more important is that China always offers help to other countries without any political condition, just as President Xi has said," he noted.

Joseph Ma'ahanua, a foreign affairs official of Solomon Islands, said Xi "made a lot of positive announcements" in his speech, including training opportunities and a zero-tariff policy, which will help a large number of developing countries.

He said there is clearly more room for Asia-Africa cooperation in many areas.

"I think Xi's announcement itself is a good start ... (It was) made in a way that serves as a platform for more practice to come," he said.

Oh Ei Sun, a senior research fellow at Nanyang Technology University of Singapore and former political secretary to the Malaysian prime minister, said Xi's reiteration of the Bandung Spirit is of great significance under the current international situation when hegemony still hangs on.

A series of initiatives proposed by China on global development, including the Belt and Road and the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, showed that it will offer help to other countries without any political condition, he said.

Li Renliang, a professor at Thailand's National Institute of Development Administration, said that through the promotion of cooperation, China hopes it will become a true friend of Asian and African nations.

Xi's speech had pointed out that the Bandung Spirit is still a "code of conduct" for the two continents to lift the level of their cooperation, he said.

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