Chinese Ambassador to Kenya H.E. Amb. Sun Baohong's Article Themed "Build on the Progress and Make Joint Efforts to Open up a More Prosperous China-Kenya Cooperation " Published on The Nation Newspaper

The following article written by H.E. Amb. Sun Baohong, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya, was published on The Nation newspaper on 14th December 2018, on the occasion of the 55th anniversary of the establishment of China-Kenya diplomatic ties.

The friendship between China and Kenya goes back a long time. Over 600 years ago, the fleets led by the great Chinese navigator Zheng He visited Kenyan coast four times during his seven voyages to the Western seas, leaving us with beautiful stories to be told across centuries. On 12th December,1963, a delegation led by Marshal Chen Yi, Vice Premier and Foreign Minister, attended the ceremony of declaration of independence of Kenya. Two days later, which was exactly the same day 55 years ago, the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of Kenya published the China-Kenya Joint Communique and established formal diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level, making China the fourth country to establish diplomatic ties with Kenya.


As an old Chinese saying goes, ‘High mountains are formed by accumulating small earth stones; Big rivers are formed by collecting small tributaries’. Over the past 55 years, thanks to the joint efforts made by Chinese and Kenyan people, our bilateral relations have made comprehensive and in-depth progress with frequent high-level exchanges and increasingly stronger political trust. The China-Kenya relations have entered into a golden era. The China-Kenya cooperation, has already developed into high mountains and big rivers, setting an example for China-Africa collaboration and South-South Cooperation.


It has been 55 years of constant consolidation of mutual trust between the two governments. Chinese leaders highly value China-Kenya relations. In 1996 and 2006, H.E President Jiang Zemin and H.E. President Hu Jintao paid state visits to Kenya respectively, and the Kenyan presidents visited China for many times. Such direct exchanges between the top leaders of two countries have vigorously boosted our relations, and the bilateral ties have witnessed leapfrog development in the past few years. H.E.President Xi Jinping and H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta , met each other on a frequent basis. In May of 2017, H.E. President Kenyatta was invited to attend the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation as the sole African head of state. During the Summit, President Kenyatta and President Xi made consensus on upgrading bilateral relations to a Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership. Both sides agreed to support each other in international affairs, and maintain a good communication and coordination in major international and regional issues. The solid political trust has laid a solid foundation for the development of our bilateral relations.


It has been 55 years of constant expansion of economic and trade cooperation. Over the past 50 years, the trade and economic cooperation has been expanded and deepened. The two-way trade volume between China and Kenya has grown from almost nothing at the beginning of our diplomatic ties to USD5.2 billion in 2017, taking the lead among the China-Africa cooperation. China has become Kenya’s largest trading partner and investor for so many years. Currently, around 400 enterprises are investing or operating in Kenya, covering such fields as agricultural processing, infrastructure, energy development, logistics and commerce, which serve as an essential engine for Kenya’s economic development. In 2017, marked by bilateral cooperation in manufacturing capacity and successful operation of Mombasa-Nairobi Standard Gauge Railway, one of the earliest achievements of the Belt and Road Initiative, China-Kenya cooperation has entered into a new era of transformation upgrading and booming development. In 2018, H.E President Kenyatta visited China to attend the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit and China International Import Expo (CIIE) in Shanghai, during which both sides have reached new consensus on realizing trade balance and achieving win-win outcomes at a higher level. Meanwhile, a series of important agreements have been reached, which is a milestone for promoting the China-Kenya Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership to a new height. China-Kenya cooperation in all sectors continue to take the leading role among the China-Africa cooperation.


It has been 55 years of fruitful results of people-to-people and cultural exchanges. Amity between people holds the key to the sound relations between states. People-to-people and cultural exchanges have always been an essential part of China-Kenya relations. In recent years, with the joint efforts of both sides, a multilevel framework covering a wide range areas has been put in place for people-to-people and cultural exchanges between China and Kenya, including such fields as culture, education, science and technology, tourism and sports. Up to now, more than 1,000 Kenyan students have obtained the Chinese Government Scholarship, and over 2,400 Kenyan students are studying in China, making China one of the top overseas destinations for Kenyan students. Learning Chinese has become a craze for them. So far, four Confucius Institutes, one Broadcast Confucius classroom and several Chinese classrooms have been set up since 2005, when the first Confucius Institute in Africa was founded in University of Nairobi. In September 2016, as an important platform for deepening China-Africa and China-Kenya cooperation in technology and innovation, the China-Africa Joint Research Center was established. Kenya is also the hub for China-Africa media exchanges. The African headquarters of Xinhua News Agency, China Central Television, China Radio International and China Daily are all located in Nairobi. The magnificent natural scenery and rich wildlife resources in Kenya have attracted more and more Chinese tourists. According to the statistics of the Kenyan tourism Board, the first three quarters of 2018 have witnessed nearly 50 thousand Chinese tourists, ranking the fourth among the source of tourists worldwide. The China-Kenya people-to-people and cultural exchanges have increased the understanding and friendship between our two peoples, and further strengthened the public support for China-Kenya cooperation.


Although the hurdle ahead is as hard as steel, we have to and will be able to conquer it from now on. Today, 55 years after our diplomatic ties were established, we are now standing at a new horizon, where China-Kenya cooperation enjoy great potential and broad prospects in various fields.


Firstly, consolidate political trust. Both sides should keep the momentum of frequent high-level exchanges, strengthen political guidance, further consolidate mutual trust, thus providing the political safeguards for the pragmatic cooperation between our two countries. China and Kenya should work together to enhance bilateral mechanisms, giving full play to the role of bilateral steering committees as well as exchanges among legislative bodies and young diplomats. China is ready to strengthen exchanges with Kenya on inter-party exchanges and state governance, and share experiences with each other on economic development, poverty alleviation, environmental protection and anti-corruption, thus supporting each other in finding the right path for our respective development. As strategic partners of mutual trust and mutual assistance, the two sides should continue to firmly support each other on issues concerning each other's core interests and major concerns.


Secondly, seize the golden opportunities. This year, the Leaders of China and Kenya have reached broad consensus during FOCAAC Beijing Summit and the first China International Import expo. China will introduce many new policies and measures in the areas of investment, trade, finance, industry and agriculture, encouraging more competent Chinese enterprises to come and locate in Kenya. China and Kenya should seize the golden opportunity for China-Kenya cooperation, actively implement the consensus reached by the leaders, and continue to push forward the integration of the Belt and Road Initiative with Kenya's development strategies such as the Big Four. I believe that soon we will reap more fruitful results in pragmatic cooperation and achieve a higher level of mutual benefits and win-win results.


Thirdly, upgrade our cooperation. Kenya is at in its initial stage of industrialization, and can make full use of the high-quality production capacity, abundant funds, advanced technologies and rich experiences of Chinese side. In addition to traditional cooperation on infrastructure, China will actively promote its cooperation with Kenya in the fields of agricultural processing, manufacturing and industrial park development, continue to improve the quality and efficiency of our cooperation and diversify investment and financing methods. By acting on the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith, and upholding the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, China will encourage and support mutually beneficial cooperation among Chinese and Kenyan enterprises with a goal to complement each other's advantages, increase the added value of our products, and constantly promote the transformation and upgrading of China-Kenya cooperation.


Fourthly, promote integration and communication. Kenya and China are good friends, close partners and true brothers. China is ready to share its development experiences with and provide funds and technology to Kenya. In recent years, an increasing number of Chinese enterprises and overseas Chinese nationals have been investing in Kenya and considering Kenya as their second hometown. In the meantime, more and more Kenyans are seeking business opportunities and development in China. China sincerely hopes that Kenya and China will not only make smooth progress in investment, construction and operation projects, but also promote our exchanges and communication, constantly strengthen our integration, understanding and mutual trust, thus building an even stronger China-Kenya community of shared future.


Right now, the Chinese people are making unremitting efforts to achieve the "Two Centenary Goals" as well as the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation, and the Kenyan people are striving for the ‘Big Four Agenda’ and “Vision 2030’. Highly in line in nature, the development goals of the two countries are further connected through building the Belt and Road Initiative and a community with shared future. This is indeed an unprecedented historical opportunity for the development of our bilateral relations. China is ready to work closely with Kenya to build on the progress, push forward China-Kenya Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership to a new stage, thus bringing more benefits to the peoples of both countries.


Wish China-Kenya friendship will last for generations. And wish for a prosperous future for China-Kenya cooperation.

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