Presidents of China, Zambia pledge to elevate relationship

08:14, February 26, 2010      

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Chinese President Hu Jintao (R) holds a welcoming ceremony for visiting Zambian President Rupiah Banda in Beijing, China, Feb. 25, 2010. Banda arrived here Wednesday to kick off his first state visit to China, strengthening the ties of friendship. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

Presidents of China and Zambia on Thursday pledged joint efforts to bringing bilateral relationship to a new high.

The pledge came out of their hour-long summit talks in Beijing as China rolled out the red carpet for Rupiah Banda, who was on his first state visit to the country since becoming Zambian President in 2008.

Banda was welcomed by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the Great Hall of the People in downtown Beijing.

"I highly appreciate your commitment to promoting practical cooperation between China and Zambia since you assumed presidency," Hu said at the start of the talks.

"I believe your visit will turn a new page in the bilateral friendship and bring the relationship to a new high," Hu said.

Banda recalled "the historic relations that exist between our two countries that go back before our independence." China and Zambia forged diplomatic ties in October 1964.

Banda highlighted "the sacrifices many young Chinese made in order to construct the first railway line connecting Tanzania and Zambia."

The about-1,860-kilometer railway, one of the largest foreign-aid project undertaken by China, was financed and built by China in 1970s. More than 60 Chinese died in constructing the railway.

Chinese President Hu Jintao (front L) and Zambian President Rupiah Banda (front R) inspect the guard of honour during a welcoming ceremony in Beijing, China, Feb. 25, 2010. Banda arrived here Wednesday to kick off his first state visit to China, strengthening the ties of friendship. (Xinhua/Liu Weibing)

"China is satisfied with the bilateral relationship and appreciated Zambia's support in international affairs," Hu said.

On developing China-Zambia relationship, Hu proposed to both cement a political relationship of sincerity and trust as well as support each other on major issues concerning the core interests.

On the economic front, Hu said China would work with Zambia to carry out cooperative projects on schedule and launch new programs step by step. He called for the two countries to expand cooperation in agriculture, mineral resources, infrastructure, among others.

Hu said China would support businesses with a strong capacity and good qualifications to invest in Zambia.

Banda echoed Hu's views, saying his country would work more closely with China in the areas of infrastructure, agriculture, transportation, minerals, education and culture.

Hu and Banda agreed that the two countries would step up coordination on global issues like financial crisis, climate change, food security and poverty eradication.

On China-Africa relations, Hu said China would make efforts to implement the new measures it committed to help the African continent last November, including favorable loans, technology programs.

Banda said China's package of measures to help Africa was of landmark significance and going smoothly. He said Africa regarded China as an important strategic partner and would keep the relationship on track.

After their hour-long talks, Hu and Banda witnessed the signing of several cooperative documents ranging from economy to culture.

Banda's entourage included ministers of foreign affairs, finance, state planning, commerce, mineral resources, tourism, environment.

Banda will meet with other Chinese leaders on Friday before going to south China's Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous region and economic powerhouse Guangdong.

Source: Xinhua

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