Nation boosts political, economic ties with Zambia

(China Daily)
Updated: 2007-02-05 07:01

Chinese President Hu Jintao (L) and Zambian President Levy Mwanwasa shake hands as they unveil a commemorative plaque for the economic development for Chambishi at the Mulungushi International Conference Centre in Lusaka February 4, 2007. [Reuters]

LUSAKA: China and Zambia will boost political and economic collaboration, strengthen dialogue and increase people-to-people and cultural interaction, said a joint communique issued yesterday.

The document, signed by Zambian President Levy Patric Mwanawasa and his visiting Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao, said the two sides also agreed that their joint efforts will focus on infrastructure, agriculture and mining.

It said Zambia recognizes China as a market economy.

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Mwanawasa expressed appreciation to China for selfless assistance over the years, while Hu applauded Zambia's remarkable achievements in economic development and its contribution to peace.

A day earlier, Hu announced a package of measures designed to boost bilateral relations.

They include:

Cancel debts in the form of interest-free government loans that were due by the end of 2005.

Open up the Chinese market by increasing zero-tariff items from 190 to 442.

Set up an economic and trade zone in Zambia.

Build a stadium in the city of Ndola, which could help turn Zambia into a major host of sports events in Africa.

Build an agricultural technology demonstration center, two rural schools, a hospital, and an anti-malaria center.

Offer 117 Chinese government-funded scholarships between 2007 and 2008 and train more professionals for Zambia.

Hu yesterday also met Kenneth Kaunda, former Zambian president and an old friend of China. Quoting a Chinese proverb, "Those who drink water will never forget the people who dig the well", Hu praised Kaunda's contribution to the "all-weather" friendship.

Kaunda is one of the few surviving African leaders who have met several generations of Chinese leaders. During his tenure, China assisted Zambia and Tanzania to build Tazara, a railway linking land-locked Zambia with a port in Tanzania in the 1970s.

Hu also met Amusaa Mwanamwambwa, speaker of the national assembly, yesterday.

Zambia is the fourth leg of Hu's eight-nation African tour, which has taken him to Cameroon, Liberia and Sudan. He will also visit Namibia, South Africa, Mozambique and the Seychelles.


(China Daily 02/05/2007 page1)

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