Chinese Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa's Article Themed "Long Distance Separates no True Friends" Published on the Daily Nation newspaper
2018/04/27

The following article written by H.E. Dr. Liu Xianfa, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, was published on the Daily Nation newspaper of Kenya on 27th April, 2018.

 

Long Distance Separates no True Friends

In January 2014, I was very honored to be appointed to this beautiful and legendary country of Kenya as the Ambassador and permanent representative to UNEP and UN-Habitat. Today, after 4 years and 3 months, I feel even more honored that I have been the longest serving Chinese Ambassador to Kenya after the year of 2000.

 

During the past four years, as I traveled all over this great land, its ecological harmony, natural splendor of wildness, cultural diversity and especially the diligence and courage of the people have been deeply imprinted on my mind. I have been touched by the profound friendship of the Kenyan government and people extended to China, gratified by the strong momentum of development of China-Kenya relations, and thrilled by the great achievements of China-Kenya cooperation.

 

I have followed the footsteps of ancient Chinese navigator Zheng He to Lamu and Malindi. The profound friendship between our two peoples, which dates back to over 600 years ago, is now rejuvenated with vigor and vitality. I have experienced the Kenya Speed and Kenya Miracle along the Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, and seen the flourishing social and economic development. I have visited sites of over 100 geothermal wells drilled by Chinese companies along the Great Rift Valley, which have brought not just electricity but also heat for China-Kenya cooperation. In Nairobi, I have seen Kenyan and Chinese scientists of China-Africa Joint Research Centre making joint efforts to develop advanced technologies to raise grain output and protect biological diversity. In Moyale, I have seen Chinese company constructing A2 Highway dig boreholes for the local community to solve the long-plaguing problem of water shortage and thus become the real rafiki and ndugu. In Kisumu, I have seen Chinese and Kenyans working together to construct water tunnels and plan new ports on the Lake Victoria. Their individual dreams intertwined and together lit up the Kenyan Dream. All in all, the past four years in Kenya have given me so many beautiful and unforgettable memories. I cherish the power of Harambee, I love the taste of ugali, I value the sincerity of rafiki, and most importantly, I am proud of the leapfrog development of China-Kenya relations.

 

I am proud to see that China-Kenya political trust has been further strengthened with frequent high level contacts. Since 2013, President Xi Jinping has met with H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta for 3 times. Premier Li Keqiang and former Chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress Mr. Zhang Dejiang visited Kenya. Last year, H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta visited China for the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation. Preisdent Xi Jinping and President Kenyatta met and agreed to upgrade China-Kenya relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership, guiding China-Kenya relations to play a leading role in China-Africa relations.

 

I am proud to see that China-Kenya pragmatic cooperation has yielded fruitful results. For the third year in a row, China has been Kenya's largest trading partner, investor and contractor. The bilateral trade volume in 2017 reached $5.2 billion, 59% more than that in 2013. Currently there are about 400 Chinese enterprises in Kenya, creating nearly 130 thousand job opportunities. Among the many investment projects, Twyford ceramics company, Wuyi precast building material production base and Nairobi Global Trade Centre, whose total investment volume exceeded $700 million, have achieved remarkable outcomes, and Mombasa economic zone, Naivasha industrial park and Eldoret economic zone are making steady progress. China-Kenya cooperation on Belt and Road Initiative and industrial capacity will continue to strongly boost Kenya's Big Four Action Plan.

 

I am proud to see that China-Kenya people-to-people exchanges are booming. Since the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit held in 2015 , we have provided 67 thousand training opportunities here and in China for government officials, technicians, doctors and teachers of Kenya. Every year the Chinese government provides over 200 full scholarships for Kenyan students. In 2017 the number of Chinese tourists in Kenya has surpassed 60 thousand. Our friendship and understanding have been enhanced by the closer people-to-people exchanges.

 

I am proud to see that China-Kenya security network has been further consolidated. We signed agreements on industrial capacity cooperation, judicial assistance and extradition, and avoidance of double taxation, optimizing the legal mechanism for bilateral cooperation. We pushed forward peace and security cooperation and realized the Defense Ministers' first exchange of visits in ten years, providing all round security safeguards for the pragmatic cooperation.

 

Over the past four years, as good friends, good brothers and good partners, Kenyan friends and I have witnessed Kenya's many important moments of its national development. Looking into the future, I firmly believe that under the strong leadership of H. E. President Uhuru Kenyatta and with the Big Four Action Plan as the road map, the hard-working and intelligent Kenyan people will embrace an even better life and an even brighter future.

 

This year, China will continue to push forward the Belt and Road Initiative, host the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Beijing and the first International Import Expo in Shanghai, further opening its arms to the outside world. This year also marks the 55th anniversary of China-Kenya diplomatic relations. China-Kenya bilateral relations have stood at a new historical point for a golden era, with more golden opportunities ahead and more sweet fruits to harvest. With expectations and confidence, we are ready to make greater endeavors.

 

For the past four years, my Kenyan friends have kindly extended to me the most needed support, the most important trust and the most valuable friendship. When I am about to complete my term of office, I would like to thank H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta, for the tremendous endeavors in promoting China-Kenya cooperation. He's always there at the SGR construction site for quarterly coordination meeting, making it possible to complete the project two and half years in advance. I am extremely grateful for the award of the Moran of Order of the Burning Spear, M.B.S., which is not just the acknowledgement of my work, but a witness of China-Kenya friendship. I would like to thank my Kenyan friends in various circles including government, legislature, parties, business, academia and media, for their strong support to me and continued efforts to jointly advance China-Kenya relations in big strides. I would like to thank my colleagues from the diplomatic corps. It has been my pleasure to exchange ideas with them and learn from each other, and work together to make more people in the world know Kenya and love Kenya. I would like to thank the Chinese communities in Kenya for their hard work and devotion. They are the vital link of China-Kenya friendship.

 

On 28th April, my wife Li Ping and I will leave Kenya with unforgettable memories and Kenyan people's profound friendship. As the Kenyan saying goes, daima pamoja ukiwa mbali au karibu. (Long distance separates no true friends.) Though far away, I will cherish our friendship, I will continue to care about Kenya and China-Kenya relations, and I will always be the envoy of China-Kenya friendship in China and other parts of the world. Wish China and Kenya prosperity and our people happiness.

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