Continue to Write a New Chapter in China-Tanzania Traditional Friendship

Friday October 22 2021
China PIC

H.E. Chen Mingjian, Ambassador of China to Tanzania.

By Chen Mingjian

Question: Your Excellency, welcome to take your new post as the Chinese ambassador to Tanzania. What’s your impression on Tanzania?

Amb. Chen: Tanzania is the first country to which I was appointed an ambassador. Upon setting foot on Tanzanian soil, I was warmly welcomed by the people here. In less than ten days after my arrival, President Samia Suluhu Hassan spared her precious time to receive my credentials on a separate occasion.

This fully demonstrates the great importance that the Tanzanian government attaches to China-Tanzania relations, and I feel very much honored. I read about Tanzania in the textbooks when I was a child. Since then I have been attracted by this beautiful country.

Tanzania is an important country in Africa, blessed with plenty of natural and tour-ism resources. Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest mountain in Africa, the magnificent Serengeti Plain and the Spice Islands Zanzibar are world-famous.

The long-term political stability, the social tranquility, and the continuous improvement of people’s livelihood have made Tanzania an exemplary country in Africa. Tanzania is a natural and historical extension of the Maritime Silk Road.

The friendly exchanges between the Chinese and Tanzanian peoples have a long history. In the early 15th century, the great Chinese navigator Zheng He arrived in the eastern coast of Africa.

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The large quantity of the Chinese porcelain pieces unearthed in Tanzanian coastal areas are the proof of the friendly exchanges between the two peoples in history. Since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic ties, China has always regarded Tanzania as its best friend, and placed the development of friendly relations with Tanzania in an important position in its foreign relations.

In the 1960s and 1970s, when the national liberation movements in Africa were surging, China and Tanzania made great contributions to the independence and national liberation of southern African countries. Despite its own great difficulties, China assisted the construction of the TAZARA, which has become a monument in the history of China-Africa relations.

Tanzania made outstanding contributions to the restoration of the lawful seat of the People’s Republic of Chi-na in the United Nations. Tanzania is also the place where President Xi Jinping proposed for the first time two foreign policy principles, namely the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith, and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests among countries. These principles have turned into the guidelines for China to develop its relations with all developing countries. We can say that China-Tanzania friendship is manifested in a series of historic events and engraved in the hearts of the two peoples.


Question: Over the past half century and more since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the Tanzania-China ties have been growing steadily. How do you see the current bilateral relations, and what do you expect in developing mutually beneficial cooperation between our two countries?

Amb. Chen: Forged by the two countries’ leaders of the older generation, including Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai, Julius Nyerere, etc., the China-Tanzania traditional friendship is unbreakable and becomes even firmer as time goes by. In recent years, with the planning and guidance of the two countries’ heads of state, China-Tanzania ties have developed rapidly and in an all-round manner, with frequent exchanges of high-level visits and continuous consolidation of political mutual trust.

In June this year, President Xi Jinping had a phone conversation with President Samia Suluhu Hassan, during which the two heads of state reached broad consensus on issues relating to further development of China-Tanzania comprehensive cooperative partnership, showing us the way forward in developing bilateral relations. President Xi is the first head of state of a major country outside Africa who has talked to President Samia on the phone.

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H.E. Chen Mingjian, Ambassador of China to Tanzania, presents her credentials to Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan at the State House in Dodoma, 11 October 2021 Photo | State House.

On the occasion of the centenary of the founding of the Communist Party of China (CPC), President Samia sent a congratulatory letter to President Xi in the capacity of the Chairman of Chama Cha Mapinduzi (CCM), and around 180 high and middle-level CCM cadres headed by Secretary General Mr Daniel Chongolo attended the CPC and World Political Parties Summit. These interactions have manifested the high-level political mutual trust between China and Tanzania.

Tanzania is an important cooperation partner of China in Africa. Driven by the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), China-Tanzania pragmatic cooperation has yielded rich fruits. This year, despite the severe impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on the world economy, the China-Tanzania economic and trade cooperation has shown great potential.

The bilateral trade volume in the first half of this year registered a year-on-year growth of 55%. China has been Tanzania’s largest trading partner and the biggest source of foreign investment for several consecutive years. China-Tanzania cooperation has played an important role in boosting Tanzania’s efforts to accelerate industrialization, improve its infrastructure and create a good business environment.

China and Tanzania continue to support each other on issues relating to one another’s core interests and major concerns, and stand firm in safeguarding their state sovereignty and dignity. Over past several years, Tanzania has repeatedly spoken boldly for China to uphold and promote justice on issues related to Taiwan, Hong Kong, Xinjiang, human rights, etc. At the same time, China has firmly supported Tanzania’s efforts to independently explore a development path suited to its national conditions, and has resolutely opposed foreign interference in Tanzania’s internal affairs, showing the essence of true friendship.

Tanzania has formulated its Third Five-Year Development Plan and is now striding forward to achieve the objectives set up in its Development Vision 2025. China has realized its First Centenary Goal, i.e. building a moderately prosperous society in all respects by this year, and is marching toward the Second Centenary Goal of building a modern socialist country in all respects by 2049.

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The 2nd China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo was held in Changsha, China from 26 to 29 Sept., 2021. Over 30 Tanzanian enterprises through their Chinese cooperation partners displayed their products at the Expo. The photo shows Chinese businessmen showing interest in Tanzanian red wine. Photo | File.

Both countries are in their new development stages, and the bilateral relationship is at a new starting point. China is willing to take this opportunity to strengthen concept and policy communication with Tanzania, promote synergies between the two countries’ development strategies, and enhance the bilateral cooperation in the fields of infrastructure, agriculture, industry and mining, health, poverty alleviation, etc., with a view to make greater contribution to Tanzania’s industrialization, employment promotion, and improvement of people’s livelihood, and better benefit the two countries and peoples.

As the Chinese ambassador to Tanzania, I have a noble mission, that is, to bring the China-Tanzania traditional friendship to new heights. I will strengthen communication with the Tanzanian government, business communities, cultural institutions, etc., visit different parts of this country, and make friends with people in various circles so as to gather more strengths to deepen the China-Tanzania traditional friendship and enhance mutual understanding and friendly feelings between our two peoples.


Question: Currently, the situation of the COVID-19 pandemic is still grave. China has been calling on the international community to unite to fight the pandemic. Recently, the 1,065,600 doses of Sinopharm vaccines provided by China through the COVAX facility arrived in Tanzania. What other support will China provide to Tanzania in fighting the pandemic?

Amb. Chen: China has been an advocate and promoter of the international anti-pandemic cooperation. To fulfill the solemn pledge made by President Xi Jinping that the Chinese COVID-19 vaccines will be a global public good, China has been actively providing vaccines to developing countries, especially those in Africa, to help them enhance capacity and resilience in fighting the pandemic. Up to now, China has supplied over 1.4 billion doses of COVID-19 vaccines to more than 100 countries and international organizations, and we will strive to provide a total of 2 billion doses of vaccines to the world by the end of this year. China has been promoting global anti-pandemic cooperation through actions and contributing its strength to the building of a global community of health for all.

At present, Tanzania is in a crucial stage of fighting the pandemic. The Tanzanian government is implementing its vaccination campaign steadily. The vaccines donated and assisted by China are important to fulfill China’s commitment to increasing vaccine accessibility and affordability in developing countries, and they will help Tanzania achieve its vaccination targets and protect the life and health of the Tanzanian people.

As long as the pandemic exists, China-Tanzania cooperation in the fight against COVID-19 will not stop. China will soon provide an additional 1.5 million doses of COV-ID-19 vaccines to Tanzania through bilateral channel, and will continue to share pandemic prevention and control experience with Tanzania and promote the transfer of relevant technologies and waiver of patents in order to assist Tanzania to produce anti-pandemic goods and vaccines locally. China will also provide support to Tanzania’s economic and social development to the best of its capacity, help Tanzania address the impacts of the pandemic and speed up its economic recovery.

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The second batch of Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines provided by China via COVAX facility, totaling 576,558 doses, arrives in Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam, 8 October 2021. The first batch totaling 489,042 doses arrived in Dar es Salaam on 4 October 2021. Photo | File.

Question: In September this year, at the general debate of the 76th session of the UN General Assembly, both President Samia and President Xi expressed their firm determination to uphold multilateralism. We have also noticed that President Xi proposed a Glob-al Development Initiative in his statement. Why did China propose this Initiative? What opportunities will it bring to the development of Tanzania and other African countries?

Amb. Chen: Development is the eternal pursuit of human society. The world today is under the compounded impacts of the pandemic and profound changes across the world, both unseen in a century. As the global course for development stands at a crossroads, President Xi Jinping solemnly proposed the Global Development Initiative. The Initiative starts with solving the most urgent problems facing the developing countries, and includes cooperation proposals and action plans in eight priority areas, namely poverty alleviation, food security, COVID-19 and vaccines, financing for development, climate change and green development, industrialization, digital economy, and connectivity.

The Global Development Initiative is an important public good and cooperation platform that China provides to the international community. It is a vivid manifestation of the concept of a community with shared future for mankind in the development field. China is the world’s largest developing country, and Africa is the continent with the largest number of developing countries.

To conduct win-win cooperation and achieve common development is a shared objective of China and African countries. The Global Development Initiative advocates openness and inclusiveness. It will form synergy with other initiatives including the BRI, Agenda 2063 of the African Union (AU), and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development. It will build consensus and pool together strengths through such regional organizations as the AU, forcefully promote the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, accelerate the integration process of Africa, and help African countries achieve the goal of strengthening themselves through unity.

President Xi Jinipng announced in his statement that China will step up support for other developing countries in developing green and low-carbon energy, and that China will provide an additional 3 billion US dollars of international assistance in the next three years to support developing countries in responding to COVID-19 and promoting economic and social recovery. This will bring more opportunities to Tanzania and other African countries in are-as like infrastructure building, poverty alleviation, economic growth, and safeguarding food and energy security.