XI’S INVITATION TO SAMIA: What it means for TZ, China

PRESIDENT Samia Suluhu Hassan is next week scheduled to travel to the People’s Republic of China for a three-day state visit at the invitation of her Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping, as the two countries continue to cement their historical and friendly bilateral relations.

The news of her visit was confirmed yesterday in Dar es Salaam by the Director of Information Services and Chief Government Spokesperson, Mr Gerson Msigwa, on the sidelines of a conference on China-Africa Cooperation organised by the Centre for International Policy (CIP).

Ms Samia becomes the first African Head of State to visit China since Mr Xi was recently re-elected as General Secretary of the Communist Party of China Central Committee. The state visit by President Samia in the Asian country will take place between 2nd and 4th November, this year.

“The visit by President Samia to China is a great honour and an opportunity for strengthening trade ties since the two leaders are expected to discuss greater areas of cooperation and cementing economic diplomacy between the two fraternal nations,” Mr Msigwa explained.

The Embassy of Tanzania in China also confirmed of the visit by President on its official twitter account, quoting a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry.

Chinese news agency, Xinhua, said President Samia visit to that country will set a new impetus into bilateral relations and encourage new progress on friendly bilateral cooperation.

Quoting a statement from the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, Ms Mao Ning, the agency said President Samia will be the first African Head of State to be hosted by China after the 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China.

“Tanzania is an important country in East Africa and China and Tanzania enjoy a traditional friendship.

“The two countries have deepened political mutual trust, cooperated pragmatically with fruitful results, and have maintained good cooperation on international and regional affairs in recent years,” Ms Mao told journalists.

She said the principle of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith put forward by President Xi during his visit to Tanzania in 2013 has now become the fundamental principle guiding the cooperation between China and other developing countries.

According to a preliminary itinerary, during President Samia’s visit in that country, President Xi will hold a welcome ceremony and a welcome banquet, and the two heads of state will hold talks and jointly attend a ceremony for the signing of cooperation documents, according to the spokesperson.

Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Li Zhanshu, Chairman of the National People’s Congress Standing Committee, will also meet President Samia, respectively, Ms Mao said.

“We believe President Samia’s visit will inject new impetus into the comprehensive and profound development of China-Tanzania relations and make new progress in bilateral friendship and cooperation,” the spokesperson said.

For his part, Mr Msigwa said that the relationship between Tanzania and China is one of the strongest bilateral friendships that has existed for more than 50 years.

Speaking at the CIP conference earlier, Zanzibar’s Minister of Trade and Industrial Development, Mr Omar Shaaban, pointed to the fact that the cooperation between China and Africa has no limits because it involves many areas such as infrastructure, investment, finance, agriculture, industry and communication.

“Without a doubt, our two leaders, President Samia and President Xi, are focused on strengthening our relationship in every aspect within the framework of Tanzania’s development strategies,” he said.

He added that Africa’s confidence in the cooperation between China and Africa is the result of a good and achievable policy of China for the continent, which is based on trust, equality, mutual benefit and common development with the aim of building a community with a common future for mankind.

“The relationship between China and Africa has been strengthened at all levels, from political and economic to commercial, cultural and other fields.

“If you walk down the street in any African country and ask people their opinion about China, there are more likely to say that China is a country that helps African countries achieve economic growth, create jobs and improve people’s lives,” he commented.

He affirmed that China and Tanzania will continue to be friends of all seasons. These two countries have continued to enjoy a deep and cooperative partnership that exists between them and this must be continued in all endeavours as we hope to devise better ways to improve people’s living standards.

The Chinese Ambassador to China, Ms Chen Mingjian, said that the trip of President Samia will open a new chapter in bilateral relations as Tanzania has become the front line when it comes to China- African relationships.

She said that it is high time for people of the two countries to use this opportunity to join hands to face common challenges and hence, achieve common development.

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