CHINA has promised to continue being an all-weather friend to Zambia, as Chinese President Xi Jinping sends envoy to follow up on decisions made during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.

And speaking when he met Yang Jiechi, member of the Political Bureau of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China and Special Envoy of President Xl Xinping, at State House in Lusaka yesterday, President Edgar Lungu said the strategic partnership between Zambia and China truly befits the term “all weather friends”.

This is according to a statement issued by Special Assistant to the President for Press and Public Relations Isaac Chipampe.

“We wish to openly and proudly acknowledge the role of the respective founding fathers of China and Zambia, Chairman Mao Zedong and Dr. Kenneth David Kaunda, whose visionary leadership laid a firm foundation for the special bond and strategic partnership between Zambia and China truly befitting of the term ‘all weather friends’. I wish to welcome your Excellency Mr. Yang to Zambia and State House in particular, and I wish to express gratitude to His Excellency President Xi Jinping for sending a special envoy to confer with us on matters of mutual importance to the two countries,” said President Lungu.

Chipambe stated that the President expressed gratitude to the Chinese Government for its generous support in various areas such as Zambia’s fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, construction of the historical Tanzania-Zambia (TAZARA) project, hospitals, airports, stadia, and roads as well as the ongoing construction of an ultra-modern convention centre which is expected to host the 2022 African Union Summit.

“We eagerly look forward to the completion of other joint projects such as the Kafue Gorge Lower Project. We are further encouraged by increased bilateral economic activity in light of Zambia’s favourable investment climate as well as market access and preferential treatment for Zambian agricultural products into China and indeed support to other sectors,” President Lungu said.

And President Lungu congratulated China for its 100th anniversary of the founding of the Communist Party of China and commended the party for leading the Chinese people in attaining remarkable socio-economic achievements.

The President also extended his best wishes to President Xi and the people of China as they mark the Lunar New Year and wished them continued success and prosperity.

Meanwhile, Yang told President Lungu that the purpose of his visit to Zambia was to further concretise the resolutions from the meeting the Head of State had with President Xi in July 2020, and during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit.

“What you have said fully demonstrates your far-sightedness of statesmanship, and this clearly demonstrates Your Excellency’s commitment to the China-Zambia relationship. The purpose of my visit to Zambia is to have further consultations with the Zambian side on decisions made during the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit,” said Yang.

Mr Yang expressed confidence that the next FOCAC meeting would achieve tangible results for the mutual benefit of China and Zambia and its peoples.

The Special Envoy committed to continue supporting the Zambian Government on the development path that suits the Zambian people and stated that China was opposed to any internal interference of African countries and further committed that in the 21st century, China will enhance cooperation with Zambia in the economic sector and international issues among others.

The Chinese delegation comprised Chinese Ambassador to Zambia Mr Li Jie, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Assistant Minister, Ministry of Commerce Assistant Minister, Mr Ren Hongbin, China International Development Cooperation Agency Deputy Director Mr Zhang Maoyu and Ministry of Foreign Affairs Department of African Affairs Deputy Director-General Zhou Ping, among others.