The enduring friendship between China and Zambia

Two significant events on May 31st underscored the deep, traditional friendship between China and Zambia.

In a phone call with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema, Chinese President Xi Jinping pointed out that China and Zambia are “all-weather friends” enjoying traditional and amicable relations and unbreakable friendship. He stressed that China and Zambia are both developing countries, and promoting solidarity and cooperation with Zambia and other African countries is China’s long-term and firm strategic choice and went on to suggest that they deepen cooperation in healthcare, poverty mitigation and agricultural development, trade and investment, green development, digital economy and other fields, help boost economic recovery and sustainable development in Africa, and promote the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future.

For his part, President Hichilema thanked China for its long-term and significant support for Zambia’s national development. Zambia, he said, is ready to strengthen exchanges with and learn from the Communist Party of China (CPC) and consolidate and deepen the traditional friendship forged by the elder generations of leaders of Zambia and China.

The same day, the Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Centre, an ultra-modern facility financed by China, with its main hall having a 2,500 seating capacity, and built to host the next mid-year summit of the African Union (AU), was opened in the Zambian capital Lusaka.

At the opening ceremony, Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema thanked China, saying his government was grateful to the support given to the country’s infrastructure development which dates back to the 1970s through the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA).

“This was a critical point in our history, when Zambia had no access to oceans and, therefore could not import or export goods due to the blockade in Southern Rhodesia,” he said.

Kenneth Kaunda, who passed away on June 17th last year at the age of 97, was the father of independent Zambia, the pioneer of Zambia/China friendship and an outstanding leader of the African liberation struggle. He made numerous visits to China from the 1960s to the 2010s and forged deep friendships with generations of Chinese leaders from Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and Comrade Deng Xiaoping to their successors, including President Xi Jinping. As one of the ‘frontline states’, Zambia under Kaunda’s leadership made great sacrifices to support the liberation struggle against apartheid, racism and colonialism throughout southern Africa. For example, the African National Congress (ANC) of South Africa maintained its headquarters in Lusaka through many years of exile and underground struggle. The TAZARA railway played a significant role in making this possible.

The following reports were originally published on the websites of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinhua News Agency.

Xi Jinping Speaks with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema on the phone

On the afternoon of May 31, 2022, President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

Xi Jinping pointed out, China and Zambia are “all-weather friends” enjoying traditional and amicable relations and unbreakable friendship. In the past year, China-Zambia relations have maintained a positive momentum of development, with two-way trade volume hitting a record high and Zambia becoming the country attracting the most Chinese direct investment in Africa. The cooperation between the two countries enjoys huge potential and bright prospects. China attaches great importance to China-Zambia relations, and stands ready to work with Zambia to consolidate and deepen the China-Zambia friendship, and push bilateral ties to higher levels and broader areas.

Xi Jinping stressed, the two sides should grasp bilateral relations from a strategic height, support each other on issues concerning respective core interests, strengthen inter-party exchanges, and share experience in state governance. The two sides should strengthen strategic communication and policy synergy, fully implement the nine programs of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), deepen mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, promote more Zambian goods, especially quality agricultural products, to enter the Chinese market, and strengthen anti-pandemic cooperation. Both sides should carry forward the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (Tazara) spirit, keep it updated in accordance with the trend of the times, and make Tazara an important transportation channel in the region.

Xi Jinping stressed, China and Zambia are both developing countries, and promoting solidarity and cooperation with Zambia and other African countries is China’s long-term and firm strategic choice. The two sides should adhere to independent foreign policy, firmly safeguard international fairness and justice, and uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law. China stands ready to work with Africa to advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, deepen cooperation in healthcare, poverty mitigation and agricultural development, trade and investment, green development, digital economy and other fields, help boost economic recovery and sustainable development in Africa, and promote the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.

Hichilema said, the Chinese people, under President Xi Jinping’s outstanding leadership, have achieved prosperity and development, and the Zambian side deeply admires the achievements China has made. He thanked China for its long-term and significant support for Zambia’s national development and for offering vaccines and other assistance to Zambia in its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic. Zambia is ready to strengthen exchanges with and learn from the Communist Party of China (CPC), consolidate and deepen the traditional friendship forged by the elder generations of leaders of Zambia and China, and push for greater development of bilateral ties to benefit the two peoples in the spirit of high-level mutual trust and cooperation. Zambia firmly adheres to the one-China principle, and supports the Belt and Road Initiative, the Global Development Initiative and the Global Security Initiative, all of which were proposed by China. Zambia stands ready to work with China to actively advance the implementation of the three initiatives, and deepen all-round cooperation within the FOCAC framework. Hichilema wishes the 20th National Congress of the CPC a complete success.


Zambia commissions China-funded modern conference center

Zambia on Tuesday commissioned an ultra-modern international conference center financed by China.

The Kenneth Kaunda International Conference Center, with its main hall having a 2,500 sitting capacity, has been built to host the African Union (AU) mid-year summit this year.

Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema thanked China for the wonderful gift, saying the government was grateful to the support given to the country’s infrastructure development which dates back to the 1970s through the construction of the Tanzania-Zambia Railway (TAZARA).

“This was a critical point in our history, when Zambia had no access to oceans and, therefore could not import or export goods due to the blockade in Southern Rhodesia,” he said.

The conference center, he said, will contribute to Zambia becoming a hub for hosting international conferences and meetings. He also commended the Chinese contractor for completing the project within the stipulated period.

The Zambian president invited the Chinese for collaboration in ensuring that infrastructure projects were built at a correct price and delivered to prescribed quality in a timely manner.

Zambia was looking to a new chapter of enhanced bilateral relations in order to improve the lives of the people of the two countries, said Hichilema.

Du Xiaohui, the Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, said the construction of the project demonstrates the increased cordial relations that have existed between the two countries.

He commended Zambia for the successful completion of the project which embodies the spirit of China-Zambia relations established by founding leaders of the two countries.

The Chinese envoy said the project will go a long way in helping Zambia enhance its international status as well as enable the southern African nation to host major international events.

According to him, the two countries have always treated each other as equals and with respect as well as supported each other.

Wang Shulin, the General Manager of China Jiangsu International Economic Technical Cooperation Corporation Zambia Limited, said it was an honor for the company to be given an opportunity to construct and deliver the project.

He said the company managed to construct the project in accordance with safety and environment standards despite the challenges brought by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Construction of the facility started in 2020.

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