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FULL SPEECH: Chinese envoy says ‘bilateral relations’ with Uganda at their best in history

The year 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Uganda, which established their diplomatic relations on 18 October 1962, just nine days after Uganda gained independence.

File Photo: President Museveni meets Chinese Ambassador H.E Zhang Lizhong at State House recently

KAMPALA, UGANDA: The Chinese Ambassador to Uganda, Zhang Lizhong on September 15 took part in a webiner in commemoration of 60 years of friendship between the two countries.

Below is the full speech.

60 Years of China-Uganda Diplomatic Relations: A Blossom of Fraternity on the China-Africa Community of Shared Future

The year 2022 marks the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Uganda, which established their diplomatic relations on 18 October 1962, just nine days after Uganda gained independence.
Over the past 60 years, China and Uganda have forged unbreakable fraternity through our struggle against imperialism and colonialism, and have embarked on a distinct path of cooperation in our journey toward development and revitalization.

Together, we have written a splendid chapter of mutual assistance amid complex changes, and set a good example for building a even stronger China-Africa community of shared future in the New Era.

Over the 60 years, we have nurtured our fraternity through safeguarding international fairness and justice, enhancing our political mutual trust. History attests that our solidarity and friendship weathered through fluctuation and challenges of the times, with both countries supporting each other’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity, supporting one another on issues concerning our respective core interests and major concerns, in the face of the various forms of hegemonic and bullying practices.

Since the early years of Uganda’s struggle against colonialism and imperialism for national independence, freedom and development, China has been providing political, moral and material support to the Ugandan people at best of her capacity. On the other hand, Uganda cast her sacred vote with dozens of other African countries in support of the UNGA Resolution 2758 which declared restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of China in the United Nations in 1971.

China appreciates the firm commitment of Uganda to the One-China principle, which forges the core of the diplomatic relations between Uganda and China, as reiterated in an interview by Okello Oryem, Ugandan Minister of State for Foreign Affairs with Xinhua News Agency following the recent reckless visit to Taiwan by Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives.

Over the 60 years, we have deepened amity among our two peoples through exchanges of all levels. In recent years, President Xi Jinping and President Museveni have maintained close interaction with each other by means of visits, meetings and correspondences, among others, and our bilateral relations elevated to the level of Comprehensive Cooperative Partnership in June 2019, our people to people exchanges and cooperation have been continuously enriched and deepened.

Exchanges between the Chinese People’s Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC) and the CAFAU is an important part of our Friendship. H.E. Edward Kiwanuka Ssekandi, the then Vice President of Uganda and Founder of CAFAU had paid visits to China and attended as the guest of honour the China International Conference of Friendship Cities and had in-depth exchanges with Chinese state leaders. As outcome of the conferences, now China and Uganda has formed Sister Cities between Wuhan and Entebbe, Shenyang and Jinja, Tangshan and Mbale, just to mention a few.

Initiated by HE Ssekandi and the joint efforts of both sides, CPAFFC and CAFAU have held Dragon Boat Races in three years, with the race in 2018 being graced by H.E. Wangyang, the Chairman of the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) during his visit to Uganda, making the Dragon Boat Race a flagship celebration of China-Uganda people to people friendship.

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Another highlighted people to people exchange is the Confucius Institute co-founded by Xiangtan University and Makerere University in 2014. With the joint efforts of both sides including Ms. Xia Zhuoqiong from Xiangtan University and Mr. Gilbert Gumoshabe from Makrere University, the Confucius Institute has been a bridge for Chinese language education and friendly communication, having admitted 20,000 students and introduced 160 learners to China for language training or overseas studies.

The institute has also sowed seed to multiply Uganda’s capacity for Chinese language teaching through training 100 local teachers for Chinese teaching, with an additional batch of 500 local teachers being trained in the coming years. We hope with the Chinese Bridge being built and broadened, more Chinese and Ugandan youth could dedicate themselves as friendship envoys between the two countries.

Over the 60 years, we brought tangible benefits to both countries and peoples through practical cooperation. Encouraged by the momentum of Belt and Road Initiative and Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the practical cooperation are delivering tangible benefits to our peoples, contributing to the social economic transformation of Uganda.

The Kampala-Entebbe Expressway, the Isimba Hydropower Plant and other major infrastructure projects have been commissioned, several industrial parks with Chinese investments, including the Liaoshen Kapeeka Industry Park run by Zhang’s Group and Tiantang Mbale Industrial Park run by Tiantang Group, among others are operating vigorously, contributing to the industrialization and employment drive in Uganda. The Satellite TV Project by Startimes has opened a window for various Ugandan rural families to access to information from outside world.

Meanwhile, the Karuma Hydropower Plant and the reconstruction and expansion of Entebbe Airport are all well in progress in their final stages, and investment of USD 4.7 billion by CNOOC in the field of Uganda’s oil exploration industry is being implemented, as a bigger picture of our practical cooperation commences to unfold in 2022.

In the fight against COVID-19, the two countries have all along been supporting each other, and the Chinese Government has provided three batches of preventive and medical materials as well as 1.6 million doses of vaccines to Uganda, as the two countries are working closely for the implementation of more Chinese vaccine donations to Uganda.

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Last November, President Xi Jinping announced the Nine Programs for China-Africa cooperation at the Opening Ceremony of the Eighth FOCAC Ministerial Conference, and China and Uganda are working closely to implement the Nine Programs, especially practical cooperation projects in small but beautiful, quick-acting, and people-beneficially projects, navigating our cooperation to new heights. These efforts are yielding important results.

As a Chinese saying goes, amity between the peoples holds the key to state-to-state relations. 60 years of friendship makes a testimony that China and Uganda are good comrades, good friends, good partners and good brothers. Why we have come this far on the path of friendship? The answer falls on the everlasting spirit of China-Africa friendship and cooperation forged in history, which features sincere friendship and equality, win-win for mutual benefit and common development, fairness and justice, and progress with the times and openness and inclusiveness. This truly captures the relations of China and Uganda working together in good and hard times over the past six decades, and provides a source of strength for the continuous growth of China-Uganda friendly relations.

Every time when I reflect on the history of China-Uganda diplomatic relations, I’ve always been inspired by the brotherhood nurtured by our statesmen and peoples generation after generation. I am happy to say that today our bilateral relations are at their best in history. I call upon all fields of Uganda and China to forge ahead to fulfill consensus of both our national leaders and work hand in hand to open a new chapter of friendship, cooperation and brotherhood in the next six decades and more.
Thank you!

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