* Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema, in Beijing on Friday.
* The two heads of state announced the elevation of the China-Zambia relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
* China firmly supports African countries in pursuing independent development paths, and firmly supports African countries in becoming an important pole in the world politics, economy and civilization, Xi said.
BEIJING, Sept. 15 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping held talks with his Zambian counterpart, Hakainde Hichilema, in Beijing on Friday.
The two heads of state announced the elevation of the China-Zambia relations to a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership.
Hichilema is paying a state visit to China from Sept. 10 to 16 at the invitation of Xi.
UPGRADING BILATERAL TIES
Xi said that the traditional friendship forged by the two countries' older generations of leaders has stood the test of the changing international landscape, and the Tanzania-Zambia Railway has become a symbol of China-Africa friendship.
Xi said China has always viewed and developed China-Zambia relations from a strategic and long-term perspective, and stands ready to work with Zambia to transform the profound traditional friendship into a strong driving force for win-win cooperation in the new era and push bilateral relations to a new level.
The Chinese president said China supports Zambia in safeguarding national sovereignty, security and development interests and exploring a development path suited to its own conditions. He expressed China's willingness to strengthen inter-party exchanges and exchanges of state governance experience with Zambia. The two countries should support each other on issues related to their respective core interests and major concerns.
The success of Chinese modernization shows the diversity of modernization models in the world, and China's high-quality development and modernization process will continue to bring new opportunities to all countries including Zambia, Xi said.
China hopes to jointly build the Belt and Road with Zambia and expand cooperation in infrastructure construction, agriculture, mining and clean energy to achieve common development and revitalization, Xi said.
Xi said China encourages more quality Zambian products to enter the Chinese market and supports more Chinese enterprises in investing in Zambia.
He called on the two sides to make a success of the celebration of the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties next year, and step up exchanges and cooperation in education and training, health care, culture, tourism and other fields.
Hichilema said Zambia cherishes the friendship forged by the older generations of leaders of the two countries. He said Zambia thanks China for its positive role in resolving the Zambian debt issue. The Zambian side abides by the one-China principle, highly appreciates the guiding philosophy and principles of Chinese modernization, and hopes to learn from China's development experience.
Hichilema said Zambia is ready to work with China to take the establishment of a comprehensive strategic cooperative partnership as an opportunity to deepen cooperation under the Belt and Road Initiative and in mining, agriculture, economy and trade, science and technology, infrastructure construction, health care and other fields.
After the talks, the two heads of state witnessed the signing of a number of bilateral cooperation documents in areas including Belt and Road cooperation, green development, digital economy, investment cooperation, inspection and quarantine.
Commenting on the elevation of China-Zambia relations, Li Wentao, executive director of the Institute of African Studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the two countries, as long-standing partners, will seek cooperation in a wider range of areas and achieve more consensus in international affairs after upgrading their ties.
ADVANCING CHINA-AFRICA COOPERATION
Noting that the collective rise of developing countries and their increasing international influence have become an irreversible trend of the times, Xi said China and Zambia need to strengthen solidarity and coordination, practice genuine multilateralism, firmly uphold international fairness and justice, strive to increase the voice of developing countries, and safeguard the common interests of the two countries and other developing countries.
Xi said China-Africa cooperation has become a pacesetter in South-South cooperation and international cooperation with Africa. The features of China-Africa friendship, including sincerity and equality, win-win cooperation, safeguarding justice, openness and inclusiveness, have never changed.
China firmly supports African countries in pursuing independent development paths, and firmly supports African countries in becoming an important pole in the world politics, economy and civilization, Xi said.
China is ready to work with Zambia and other African countries to implement the outcomes of the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue, including the Initiative on Supporting Africa's Industrialization, strengthen strategic alignment, deepen cooperation in various fields, support African countries in enhancing their capacity for independent development and realizing economic recovery and sustainable development, and jointly build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era, according to Xi.
Hichilema said China's development has led to the progress of countries in the Global South, increased their representation and voice in international affairs, and promoted the development of international order in a more just and rational direction.
Zambia thanks China for supporting the African Union's entry into the G20, Hichilema said.
The Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) is an important platform for promoting the development of African countries, he said. Thanking China for hosting the FOCAC meeting in 2024, he said Zambia is willing to work with China to push Africa-China cooperation to a new level, jointly cope with global challenges such as energy and food security, and inject more stability into the world.
Hichilema's visit came on the heels of Xi's state visit to South Africa and Beninese President Patrice Athanase Guillaume Talon's trip to China. The recent frequent high-level exchanges between China and African countries will boost the China-Africa ties, said Li Wentao.
China and Africa are engaged in cooperation in many fields, the essence of which is to promote Africa's independent development, Li said.