[By Li Jie, Chinese Ambassador to Zambia]
The year of 2021 marks the 72nd anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China, and the 57th anniversary of the diplomatic relationship between China and Zambia.
On 1st October, we will celebrate China’s National Day. I would like to extend my sincere gratitude towards all friends who have been supporting China and the development of the China-Zambia friendship.
A century of efforts has made prosperity possible.
The Communist Party of China (CPC) always puts the people first. The CPC has been the ruling party of China for 72 years and led the Chinese people to achieve the historic progress of lifting themselves out of poverty, bringing them subsistence and then a life of moderate prosperity. The Chinese people’s life expectancy increased from 35 to 77 years. More than 700 million people were pulled out of poverty. China has built the world’s biggest systems of education, social security, medical care and institutions of democracy at the primary level. On 1st July, H.E. Xi Jinping, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee, declared at the ceremony marking the centenary of the CPC that as a miracle in human history, the CPC has brought about a historic resolution to the problem of absolute poverty in China.
This year, the Shenzhou-12 manned spaceship, born from the wisdom and sweat of those dedicated to China’s space endeavor, successfully conducted an autonomous rendezvous and docked with the space station core module Tianhe. Chinese astronauts entered a space station of China’s own for the first time. It marks a new stage in China’s effort to explore the space. Not long ago, China’s Olympic sports delegation to the 32nd Olympic Games competed and communicated with athletes all over the world, promoting exchanges and enhancing friendship. Team China won 38 gold, 32 silver and 18 bronze medals at the Games. It impressed me especially when the Chinese women’s football team and Zambia’s Copper Queens met at the Olympics. They presented a high-level game of friendship to the world.
This year also marks the 50th anniversary of the restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. Dr. Kenneth Kaunda once argued at the UN that it was wrong that there had been no representatives at the UN stage from the People’s Republic of China. In 1971, the UN General Assembly adopted Resolution 2758, submitted by 23 countries, with an overwhelming majority, restoring all the lawful rights to the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations. Zambia was one of the 23 countries. Thank you, brothers and sisters.
An extraordinary journey of 57 years has made the “all-weather” friendship even stronger.
China-Zambia friendship dates back to the era when China actively supported the national liberation movement of southern Africa, and China was one of the first countries to recognize Zambia’s independence. Zambia was the first country in Southern Africa to establish diplomatic ties with the People’s Republic of China.Under the guidance of Chairman Mao Zedong and the First Republican President Dr. Kenneth Kaunda, the relationship has been going from strength to strength and tested by time and history. Shortly after the diplomatic ties were established, the Chinese people supported Zambia and Tanzania in building the TAZARA under very difficult circumstances of China’s own economy. It was a huge contribution to the national liberation movement of southern Africa and to the new-born Zambia’s efforts to break the apartheid imposed by imperialist states. The TAZARA is by far still China’s largest foreign aid project and a historic monument in China-Africa friendship and China-Zambia cooperation. Since the establishment of diplomatic ties 57 years ago, China and Zambia have shown mutual respect, treated each other as equal, and become a model of unity and friendship among developing countries.
In recent years, China-Zambia relations have shown a sounder momentum of development and produced fruitful results. This year alone, the new terminal at the Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, the Simon Mwansa Kapwepwe International Airport and the first generator unit of Kafue Gorge Lower Hydropower Station among other major cooperation projects were commissioned, injecting strong impetus to Zambia’s economic recovery and growth.
Last month, President Xi Jinping congratulated President Hakainde Hichilema on his election and pointed out that China and Zambia are good friends, good partners and good brothers. President Xi said that he attaches great importance to the development of China-Zambia relations, values the traditional friendship between the two countries, and stands ready to work with President Hichilema to deepen bilateral cooperation in various fields, so as to bring benefits to both countries and their people. I met with President Hichilema one day after his election when we had an in-depth exchange of views on bilateral relations and issues of common concern. President Hichilema said that China is Zambia’s good friend and partner all the time, and the Zambian side wants to learn from China’s development experience and is willing to create a favorable environment for China-Zambia mutually beneficial cooperation. He also mentioned that Zambia welcomes continuous and active contribution from the Chinese side to Zambia’s economic development and livelihood improvement. As Chinese Ambassador to Zambia, I will continue to serve as a bridge of China-Zambia friendship and assist in connecting cooperative intentions from both sides to further benefit the two peoples.
A new chapter for China-Zambia friendship has been unfolded.
Standing at a new historical starting point, China is now marching toward building a great modern socialist country in all respects. China will continue to uphold the vision of a community with a shared future for mankind and the common values of humanity of peace, development, equity, justice, democracy and freedom, and pursue joint progress based on mutual respect and mutual learning. Zambia is China’s “all-weather” friend, and I am looking forward to the continuous development of the friendship.
Deepen cooperation to pursue common development and prosperity. China and Zambia should enhance Belt and Road cooperation and promote further coordination of development strategies. China will continue to support Zambia’s efforts to restore macro-economic stability and help Zambia speed up industrialization and fulfill self-reliant growth through implementing economic and social projects jointly. China will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to expand trade and investment in Zambia, and import more quality products from the country. China is willing to work with the Zambian side to ensure the success of the next meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and bring out more outcomes that will benefit Zambian people, in the FOCAC spirit of extensive consultation, joint contribution and shared benefits.
Strengthen coordination and safeguard the common interests of developing countries. China has always forged ahead with other developing countries with solidarity. China will continue to adhere to the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith in pursuit of greater good and shared interest, and firmly support Zambia in safeguarding national sovereignty and dignity, and in exploring a development path that suits its national conditions. China and Zambia should defend each others’ legitimate rights to develop and join hands to realize national development and rejuvenation. Firmly committed to multilateralism, the two countries should coordinate and cooperate in international affairs and work for a just and fair international order. The two countries should also advocate and practice true multilateralism and oppose external interference.
Consolidate solidarity and combat global challenges. At present, major changes unseen in a century are intertwined with the raging pandemic, and climate change poses severe challenges and real threats to human survival and development. China will continue to fight against COVID-19 together with Zambia and support Zambia’s efforts with PPEs, vaccines and other kinds of help. China is striving to achieve the peak of carbon emissions by 2030 and carbon neutrality by 2060 and trying its best to help developing countries build capacity against climate change. The Chinese side welcomes President Hichilema’s recent decision to establish the Ministry of Green Economy and Environment, which demonstrates the Zambian Government’s commitment to green economy and ecological protection. China stands ready to cooperate with Zambia on green transition of the economy and the green development of the Belt and Road.