First Republican President Kenneth Kaunda has called on the Zambian and Chinese governments to continue working hard towards strengthening their diplomatic cooperation for enhanced partnership .
Dr. Kaunda urged the two countries to always dialogue on improving and strengthening their relationships.
He said as the two countries celebrate 50 years of togetherness, they should make steps for 50 more years of a great partnership.
Dr. Kaunda said this when visiting Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao paid a courtesy call on him at his office in Lusaka today.
“Comrade Vice President I appeal to the governments and peoples of Zambia to remember what we have achieved together.
“ Let us continue to strengthen our cooperation. We are all important members of this, our one world,” Dr. Kaunda said.
He said the people to people interaction is what Zambians were hoping for from the beginning and stressed the need for the two country’s to have win-win relations.
The former Head of State stated that China has been in Zambia’s life partner from the beginning and that out of principle, Zambia and Tanzania campaigned for China to hold the China United Nations position instead of Taiwan.
He said this was achieved and China took up the key UN Security Council position which helped create some balance in world politics.
“I am humbled that the seeds we planted in 1964 have contributed to the deepening of links involving the people of China, Zambia, Tanzania, Africa and indeed, much of the world. China’s relationship with Zambia helped pioneer the links China has with Africa and other parts of the world,” he said.
He said Zambians have had very good relations with Chinese nationals living and working in the country in various fields.
He said the nation has continued been impressed by the sense of service and good work that many people from China exhibit.
Dr. Kaunda stated that over the 50 years, Zambia China relationship has covered many areas of human endeavor, saying China helped Zambia with building of vital infrastructure.
He noted that were other governments were unwilling, China was at hand to help in building Zambia’s national capacity in various fields.
He said many times, China provided interest-free loans of friendship and did not provide harsh conditionalities to their assistance.
He said at a critical time when Zambia and Tanzania were affected by the situation of Southern Africa, China helped the two countries to build the TAZARA railway line and also helped Zambia build roads and bridges besides providing help with educational and skills training in various fields.
The First Republican President noted that China also helped Zambia in health and had joint projects in agriculture and farming as well as in defense at a critical time when racist regimes in Southern Africa were bombing the country.
Dr. Kaunda further noted that China and Zambia were involved in trade in goods and services and that at important times, Zambia imported some useful goods while China also became a big importer of the country’s mineral products.
He expressed happiness to note that China worked with Zambia as partners and not masters in the common struggle for human dignity and development.
Dr. Kaunda said many of Zambia’s achievements over the last five decades are celebrations of China’s relationship with the country.
He said China has greatly contributed to Zambia’s 50 years of existence and has since thanked all the Chinese people that have played a major role in enhancing its friendship with Zambia.
And Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao said Dr. Kaunda’s contribution to anti colonialism and struggle for independence for many African states will never be deleted.
He said Dr. Kaunda is a hero in the eyes of many Chinese people for leading Zambia to independence 50 years ago and creating a new nation.
Dr. Li said Dr. Kaunda’s contribution to enhancing friendship between Zambia and China cannot be surpassed by anyone.
The Chinese Vice President is in the country for a three day state visit at the invitation of his Zambian counterpart Dr. Guy Scott.
Since his arrival in the country on Wednesday, Dr. Li has held talks with Republican President Michael Sata, Vice President Scott and Patriotic Front Secretary General Wynter Kabimba who is also Justice Minister.