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Killing of Chinese won't affect ties: Zambia's FM

Xinhua | Updated: 2012-08-10 07:53

LUSAKA - Zambia's Minister of Foreign Affairs has dispelled reports that the killing of a Chinese national at a coal mine in southern Zambia's Sinazongwe district will affect the bilateral relations between the two countries.

Given Lubinda said during a press briefing at his office Thursday that the incident should be seen purely as a case of employer/employee misunderstanding and should not affect the strong bilateral relations that exist between the two countries.

Last Saturday, workers at Collum Coal Mine rioted over wage disputes, resulting in the killing of one Chinese worker and injuring of four others.

"The government of Zambia is concerned that there is an impression being created that this unfortunate incident has a bearing on the relations between Zambia and China. I would like to dispel any notion that the relations between Zambia and China have been negatively affected," he said.

He assured that his government will maintain the long-standing relations with China, which he said, has resulted in increased Chinese investments in the country and enhanced economic and social cooperation at bilateral and multilateral levels.

The Zambian minister said he held discussions with Chinese ambassador to Zambia who assured that the incident will not affect the relations between the two countries.

"The growing level of Chinese investments in Zambia is indicative of the stable and conducive environment that continues to prevail in the country," he added.

Some section of society in the southern African nation have warned that the killing of the Chinese national will have a negative bearing on the relations between the two countries.

The two countries established diplomatic ties 48 years ago and have since enjoyed close economic and trade relations. Chinese investment in Zambia has brought great benefits to both countries.

Figures showed that China is Zambia's fourth largest trade partner with a bilateral trade volume amounting to 2.85 billion dollars in 2010. On the other hand, Chinese firms have invested a total of  2 billion dollars in Zambia and set up nearly 300 enterprises, according to the Chinese Embassy in Zambia.

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