As part of its post-Congress diplomacy, Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan, the East African country’s first female head of state, was one of four foreign leaders to visit China last week and the first from Africa to visit after the conclusion of the 20th Congress. This fully reflects the long-standing special relationship and solidarity between the two countries, forged by Tanzania’s founding President Julius Nyerere and successive generations of Chinese leaders, including Chairman Mao Zedong, Premier Zhou Enlai and Deng Xiaoping. Tanzania was also one of the four countries visited by Xi Jinping in his first overseas visit on being elected President of China in 2013.
Symbolic of this history, among the 15 agreements signed during President Hassan’s visit was one to upgrade the Tazara railway, built by China between 1970-75 to allow landlocked Zambia to export its goods via Tanzanian ports at a time when the country was blockaded by the white racist regimes then in power in ‘Rhodesia’ (now Zimbabwe) and South Africa.
In its coverage of the state visit, China’s Global Times noted: “Running some 1,870 kilometers, the railway is sometimes regarded as the greatest engineering effort of its kind since World War II. The railway took only five years to build and was finished ahead of schedule in 1975.”
Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post wrote: “China’s involvement in the Tazara railway began in the 1970s under the leadership of Mao Zedong and then premier Zhou Enlai, when the country was facing its own financial difficulties. Lusaka was desperate for a railway link to the Tanzanian coast. Neighbouring white-controlled Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe) had cut landlocked Zambia’s only outlet to the sea for its main export copper, in response to its support of African nationalist guerrillas fighting for the transfer of power to the Rhodesian black majority. China stepped in after the US and Russia refused to fund a new railway, on the grounds it did not make economic sense, and the Tazara was built for about a billion yuan – billions of US dollars at today’s rates – in interest-free loans. The 1,860km (1,155 miles) of track stretching from Zambia’s copper belt to the Tanzanian port of Dar es Salaam on the Indian Ocean was built between 1970 and 1975 with the help of 50,000 Chinese workers.”
Reporting on Xi Jinping’s meeting with his Tanzanian counterpart, the Xinhua News Agency wrote that the Chinese leader pointed out both the CPC and the Tanzanian Revolutionary Party (Chama Cha Mapinduzi) shoulder the historical mission of strengthening themselves and the country they govern, adding that the CPC will expand exchanges and cooperation with the CCM and support the curriculum and operation of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School. Xi stressed that China views its relations with Tanzania from a strategic perspective and will always be a trustworthy friend of the country.
The Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School was built by China in Tanzania as a joint cadre training school for the progressive ruling parties in that country, along with those of Zimbabwe, Mozambique, South Africa, Namibia and Angola, all of whom led the liberation struggle in their respective countries.
Referring to the Tazara Railway, Xi said that it marks a milestone in China-Tanzania and China-Africa friendship. Even when China was poor, it tightened its belt to help its African brothers build this railway. “Now that China is more developed, it is better placed to act on the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, help our African friends achieve common development, and build a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.”
The following reports were first carried by the Xinhua News Agency and the website of the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
Xi holds talks with Tanzanian president
Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with visiting Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan in Beijing on Thursday. The two presidents announced the elevation of the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
Noting that President Hassan is the first African head of state China has received after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Xi said it speaks volumes about the two countries’ close ties and the important position of China-Africa relations on China’s diplomatic agenda.
Xi recalled putting forth, while visiting Tanzania in 2013, the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith to guide China’s cooperation with African countries. It has now become the basic policy guiding China’s solidarity and cooperation with other developing countries.
Under the new circumstances, the sound growth of China-Tanzania relations not only advances the common and long-term interests of the two countries, but also carries great significance for building a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, said Xi.
Xi briefed President Hassan on the proceedings of the 20th CPC National Congress. He pointed out that starting from now, the central task of the CPC will be to lead the Chinese people of all ethnic groups in a concerted effort to realize the Second Centenary Goal of building China into a great modern socialist country in all respects and to advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization.
“Modernization does not mean Westernization,” Xi said, adding China has already found a development path suited to its national conditions. Chinese modernization is grounded in China’s own realities, with features that are unique to the Chinese context, said Xi.
Xi pointed out both the CPC and the Tanzanian Revolutionary Party (CCM) shoulder the historical mission of strengthening themselves and the country they govern, adding the CPC will expand exchanges and cooperation with the CCM and support the curriculum and operation of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School.
Xi stressed that China views its relations with Tanzania from a strategic perspective and will always be a trustworthy friend of Tanzania. Moving forward, Xi said the two sides should advance friendship and cooperation across the board, in keeping with the China-Tanzania comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
China firmly supports Tanzania in upholding its sovereignty, security and development interests, and in exploring a path of development that suits Tanzania’s conditions. China and Tanzania will continue to show firm support on issues involving each other’s core interests and major concerns, said Xi.
Xi also said China will further increase import of specialty products from Tanzania, and support Chinese companies in investing and operating in Tanzania, so as to contribute to the economic and social development of Tanzania. China is ready to exchange experience and best practices with Tanzania on rural revitalization, and support the betterment of livelihood there, added Xi.
Xi pointed out that the Tazara Railway marks a milestone in China-Tanzania and China-Africa friendship. Even when China was poor, it tightened its belt to help its African brothers build this railway. “Now that China is more developed, it is better placed to act on the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, help our African friends achieve common development, and build a stronger China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era.”
In growing China-Africa relations, Xi said both sides need to remain committed to the overall direction of mutual trust, mutual benefit, mutual learning and mutual assistance. Both China and Africa need to build on their time-honored traditional friendship, carry forward the spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation, and show greater historical initiative in advancing friendship between China and Africa, he added.
Xi went on to point out China’s continuous development will create new opportunities for Africa. China will speed up the implementation of the ongoing nine initiatives for cooperation with Africa. “With a particular focus on infrastructure, we will continue to nurture new drivers for China-Africa cooperation through trade, investment and financing.”
China stands ready to work with African countries to uphold the basic norms governing international relations including the Five Principles of Peaceful Coexistence, actively operationalize the Global Development Initiative, increase the representation and voice of developing countries in global governance, and do more to bring about a community with a shared future for mankind, said Xi.
Noting that she was excited and honored to be invited to visit China soon after the successful conclusion of the 20th CPC National Congress, Hassan said that the visit is a testament to the high level of Tanzania-China relations.
On behalf of the CCM and the Tanzanian government, Hassan once again extended warm congratulations on the success of the 20th CPC National Congress and Xi’s re-election as general secretary of the CPC Central Committee.
Tanzania views China as its top real friend and will always be a trustworthy partner for China, said Hassan, adding that with the establishment of a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership, Tanzania will work with China to strengthen practical cooperation across the board, take the relationship to a new height, and turn it into an exemplar for Africa-China relations in the new era.
Hassan stressed that Tanzania will continue to firmly support China on issues relating to Taiwan, Xinjiang, Hong Kong and other core interests of China.
She expressed appreciation for China’s support in the development of the Mwalimu Julius Nyerere Leadership School, and conveyed the hope of southern Africa’s six sister parties to step up experience sharing with China on national governance in order to achieve better development.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) has not only boosted the development of African countries in various fields, but also had a demonstrative effect in driving other countries’ cooperation with Africa and helped enhance Africa’s international standing, the president said, adding that Tanzania will continue to take an active part in and support the development of FOCAC.
Noting that the Global Development Initiative put forth by Xi is very timely and conducive to addressing the global challenges of today, Hassan said Tanzania will work with China to operationalize this initiative and build a community with a shared future for mankind.
The two heads of state agreed to keep up the momentum of high-level exchanges and dialogue, and enhance exchanges and cooperation at all levels between the localities, legislatures and political parties of the two countries.
They agreed to expand the scale of bilateral trade, boost the level of trade and economic cooperation, deepen high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, advance cooperation projects on infrastructure, enhance industrial complementarity and production capacity cooperation, and expand mutually-beneficial cooperation in such areas as manufacturing and processing, green development and digital economy.
The two heads of state reached consensus on strengthening people-to-people and cultural exchanges, holding a China-Tanzania year of tourism and culture at an appropriate time, encouraging more exchanges between the academics and media organizations of the two countries, and carrying forward the friendship between the two peoples.
The two presidents agreed to enhance cooperation in international and multilateral settings, step up communication and cooperation on climate change and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and jointly uphold international fairness, justice and the common interests of both sides.
At the end of the talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents covering trade, investment, development cooperation, digital economy, green development and blue economy. The two sides issued a Joint Statement on Establishing a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership between the People’s Republic of China and the United Republic of Tanzania.
Prior to the talks, Xi held a welcoming ceremony for Hassan in the Great Hall of the People.
Upon President Hassan’s arrival at the Great Hall of the People, a 21-gun salute was fired in Tiananmen Square to greet her. Seventeen honor guards lined up the steps on both sides of the red carpet to salute her and trumpeters blew horns to welcome her. The two presidents stepped onto the review stand, after which the military band played the national anthems of the two countries. Accompanied by Xi, Hassan then reviewed the guard of honor of the People’s Liberation Army and watched the march-past.
After the talks, Xi held a welcoming banquet for Hassan at the Golden Hall of the Great Hall of the People.
Wang Yi and He Lifeng, among others, were present at the events.
Joint Statement on Establishing a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership Between the People’s Republic of China and the United Republic of Tanzania
At the invitation of President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, President Samia Suluhu Hassan of the United Republic of Tanzania paid a state visit to the People’s Republic of China starting from 2 November 2022.
On 3 November, President Xi Jinping held talks with President Samia Suluhu Hassan. The two heads of state had an in-depth exchange of views on China-Tanzania relations, China-Africa relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest, and reached a series of important understandings. Premier of the State Council Li Keqiang and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress Li Zhanshu had separate meetings with President Samia Suluhu Hassan.
The two Presidents spoke highly of the traditional friendship between the People’s Republic of China and the United Republic of Tanzania (hereinafter referred to as “the two sides”) and noted with satisfaction the fruitful outcomes of China-Tanzania relations and their friendly cooperation in the past 58 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations. To further develop the bilateral relations and advance cooperation across the board, the two Presidents announced the elevation of the bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership.
I. The two sides agreed to further leverage the political guiding role of head-of-state diplomacy, maintain the momentum of high-level interactions and dialogues, continue to deepen traditional friendship and political mutual trust, strengthen strategic coordination, share experience on governance, and enhance exchanges and cooperation between their central and local governments, legislatures and political parties at all levels.
II. The Tanzanian side congratulated China on the successful convening of the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China (CPC), applauded China’s historic achievements and transformation in its various endeavours under the leadership of the CPC, and expressed support for China in building a great modern socialist country in all respects. The Chinese side commended the government of Tanzania for the important achievements in its endeavours of national development under the leadership of President Samia Suluhu Hassan and wished the upcoming 12th National Congress of the Chama Cha Mapinduzi of Tanzania a full success.
III. The two sides pledged to continue supporting each other on issues involving sovereignty, territorial integrity and other core interests and major concerns. The Tanzanian side reaffirmed its firm commitment to the one-China principle, regards Taiwan as an inalienable part of China, and opposes any actions or remarks that undermine China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. The Chinese side expressed firm support for Tanzania in exploring independently a development path suited to its national conditions.
IV. The two sides agreed to continue elevating their two-way trade and further expand the trade volume. The Chinese side agreed to provide duty-free treatment of 98% tariff lines goods originating from Tanzania exported to China and will actively explore the possibility of providing market access to more Tanzanian products.
V. The two sides will implement the Memorandum of Understanding Between the People’s Republic of China and the United Republic of Tanzania on Jointly Promoting the Building of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st-Century Maritime Silk Road and deepen high-quality Belt and Road cooperation. The two sides are ready to actively advance the upgrade and renovation of the TAZARA Railway. The two sides agreed to expand investment cooperation. The Chinese side will encourage more Chinese companies to invest in Tanzania and participate in the development of railways, roads, ports, aviation, electricity and information and communications and other infrastructure. The Tanzanian side will further improve its business environment and provide facilitation for Chinese companies to operate in Tanzania. The Chinese side will facilitate Tanzania business people to trade smoothly with China.
VI. The two sides agreed to promote industrial complementarity and production capacity cooperation, with a focus on expanding mutually beneficial cooperation in such areas as energy and mineral development, processing and manufacturing, green development and digital economy, and support Tanzania in moving faster towards industrialization and modernization.
VII. The two sides spoke highly of their cooperation gains in such areas as culture, tourism, education, public health, pandemic response, sports, youth, think tanks and media, and agreed to further expand people-to-people and cultural exchanges. The two sides will provide facilitation for holding tourism promotion activities in each other’s country and agreed to hold a China-Tanzania Year of Tourism and Culture at an appropriate time. The two sides will facilitate academic and media exchanges. The Chinese side will provide more scholarship opportunities for Tanzanian students and continue to send medical teams to the Tanzania mainland and Zanzibar.
VIII. The two sides agreed to further strengthen cooperation on peace and security and collaborate in combating transnational crimes, capacity building, personnel training, equipment and technologies and other fields. The two sides agreed to step up protection of the safety and lawful rights and interests of each other’s citizens and institutions within their territories.
IX. The two sides undertook to strengthen coordination and cooperation in international affairs and multilateral institutions, jointly uphold true multilateralism, safeguard the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order underpinned by international law, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind. The Tanzanian side expressed support for the Global Development Initiative put forth by the Chinese side and will actively participate in relevant activities. The Chinese side expressed appreciation for Tanzania’s efforts to promote global and regional peace and development.
X. The two sides commended the important role of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in advancing the China-Africa comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership, and agreed to enhance consultation and coordination on FOCAC-related affairs and jointly deliver on the wide-ranging practical cooperation under the Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024).
XI. The two sides agreed that President Samia Suluhu Hassan’s visit to China was a full success and held great significance for advancing China-Tanzania relations and promoting the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era. President Samia Suluhu Hassan expressed heartfelt appreciation to President Xi Jinping and the Chinese government and people for the warm and generous hospitality accorded to her during her visit. Lastly, two sides agreed the importance of continuing to have state visits and in that regard, President Samia Suluhu Hassan extended an invitation to President Xi Jinping to make another visit to Tanzania in 2024 as part of celebration of the 60th Anniversary of our diplomatic relations.