China attaches great importance to its relations with Zambia and is ready to work with Zambia to consolidate and deepen their friendship and push bilateral ties to higher levels and broader areas, Chinese President Xi Jinping said Tuesday afternoon.

He made the remarks in a phone conversation with Zambian President Hakainde Hichilema.

Noting that China and Zambia are “all-weather friends” with traditional friendship, Xi said the friendship between the two countries is unbreakable.

In the past year, China-Zambia relations have maintained a positive momentum of development, with two-way trade hitting a record high and Zambia becoming the country enjoying the most Chinese direct investment in Africa, Xi said, adding that the cooperation between the two countries has huge potential and bright prospects.

Xi stressed that the two sides should view bilateral relations from a strategic height, support each other on issues concerning their respective core interests, strengthen inter-party exchanges, and share experience in governance.

He also called for strengthening strategic communication and policy synergy, fully implementing the nine programs announced by China at the 8th Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in 2021, deepening mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, pushing for more Zambian goods, especially quality agricultural products, to enter the Chinese market, and strengthening anti-epidemic cooperation.

Xi called on both sides to carry forward the Tanzania-Zambia Railway spirit, keep it updated in accordance with the trend of the times, and make the railway an important transportation channel in the region, Xi noted.

China and Zambia are both developing countries, Xi stressed, noting that promoting solidarity and cooperation with Zambia and other African countries is China’s long-term and firm strategic choice.

The two sides, Xi said, should adhere to independent diplomatic policy, firmly safeguard international fairness and justice and uphold the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law.

China stands ready to work with Africa to advance high-quality Belt and Road cooperation, and deepen cooperation in such fields as healthcare, poverty reduction and agricultural development, trade and investment, green development and digital economy, among others, to help boost economic recovery and sustainable development in Africa, and push for the building of a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, Xi said.

For his part, Hichilema said that the Chinese people, under Xi’s outstanding leadership, have achieved prosperity and development, and the Zambian side deeply admires those achievements.

Hichilema thanked China for its long-term and significant support for Zambia’s national development and for providing vaccines and other assistance to Zambia in its fight against COVID-19.

He said that the Zambian side is ready to strengthen exchanges with and learn from the Communist Party of China (CPC), consolidate and deepen the traditional friendship forged by the older generations of leaders of both sides, and push for greater development of bilateral ties to benefit their people in the spirit of high-level mutual trust and cooperation.

Zambia firmly follows the one-China policy and supports the China-proposed Belt and Road Initiative, Global Development Initiative and Global Security Initiative, said Hichilema, adding that Zambia stands ready to work with China to actively promote their implementation and deepen all-round cooperation within the FOCAC framework.

Hichilema also wished that the 20th National Congress of the CPC will be a complete success.

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