Chinese peacekeeper Yu Peijie (R) sings songs with local children in Juba, South Sudan, on April 30, 2018. (Xinhua/Wang Teng)
ADDIS ABABA, July 18 (Xinhua) -- China-Africa cooperation in peace and security, in line with an initiative announced by China last year, will play a vital role in boosting Africa's quest towards stability, an Ethiopian expert said Wednesday.
Costantinos Bt. Costantinos, who served as an economic advisor to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), told Xinhua that the peace and security initiative, announced during the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in September last year, provides a vital impetus to bilateral cooperation in peace and security.
The expert made the remarks as the first China-Africa Peace and Security Forum, organized by China's Ministry of National Defense, is being held in Beijing this week. The forum has been one of the outcomes of the initiative.
Costantinos said the initiative, or action plan, "aspires to continue to promote high-level exchanges between Africa and China so as to deepen traditional friendship, enhance political mutual trust, strengthen strategic coordination and cement the political foundation of China-Africa relations."
According to the expert, the action plan has clearly stipulated its intent to support the operationalization of the African peace and security architecture.
"The Beijing action plan is vital as it reiterates that China will increase defense and security assistance to Africa and the two sides will enhance cooperation and experience sharing in social governance, public security, peacekeeping, cyber security, anti-piracy and counter-terrorism," the expert said.
The expert's comment came as representatives of the Chinese military as well as nearly 100 security officials from 50 African countries and the AU, including 15 defense ministers and chiefs of staff, are attending the forum from July 15 to 20 in Beijing.
The attendees will discuss the initiative of building a China-Africa community with a shared future that was raised at the 2018 FOCAC Beijing summit, and focus on topics including China-Africa cooperation in peace and security, and regional maritime security.
Costantinos, also a professor of public policy at the Addis Ababa University in Ethiopia, stressed that successful China-Africa peace and security cooperation would help strengthen the China-Africa community with a shared future.
Figures from the African Union (AU) also backed the expert's assertion as various supports from the Chinese government in recent years helped to consolidate peace and security efforts across the continent.
According to the AU, the Chinese government has provided continuous support to the AU Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) since 2011, through the donation of equipment, and funding support of approximately 1.2 million U.S. dollars annually.
China has also provided support to the African Standby Force (AU-ASF) through the provision of equipment that forms part of strategic stock for the ASF, to the tune of 100 million U.S. dollars, the AU said in a statement on Monday.
The AU Commissioner for Peace and Security, Smail Chergui, also on Monday hailed the ongoing China-Africa Peace and Security Forum as a positive impetus to Africa's stability.
"This meeting is happening at a time when Africa is experiencing growing insecurity and striving to end all conflicts on the continent to ensure a peaceful and stable Africa," the AU commissioner said.
"Premised around the hallmarks of the great Sino-Africa partnership, this forum provides a platform for us to discuss a comprehensive framework to solidify and continue to enhance China's support to peace and security on the continent," he said.
"This is why we appreciate the strategic and reliable partnership between the African Union and the People's Republic of China in supporting efforts to enhance AU Peace Support Operations capabilities," he said.
In addition to engaging in discussions that aimed to strengthen China-Africa cooperation in peace and security, representatives from African countries will visit China's army, navy and air force troops as well as Shanghai during the forum.