China cherishes bilateral ties with Kenya

By Song Chen, Wu Yanni and Chris Mgidu

NAIROBI, Sept. 27 (Xinhua) -- China on Thursday pledges to work with Kenya to push forward the friendly relations and cooperation to a new high level on the basis of mutual respect and mutual benefit.

Chinese ambassador to Kenya Liu Guangyuan demonstrates that as a result of globalization and interdependence, China is strengthening her cooperation with other world nations including Africa and is keen to strengthen her trade relations with Kenya.

"The government of China attaches tremendous importance to China-Kenya relations, we can't allow anyone to undermine the profound friendship between our two peoples," said ambassador Liu Guangyuan during the reception to mark the 63th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China in Nairobi.

He said that China-Kenya bilateral cooperation has led to a fast, comprehensive and profound development in terms of the frequent exchanges of both high level and people-to-people visits as well as the increasing trade volume.

"China-Kenya trade volume increased at an annual rate of over 30 percent in recent years," said Liu, "the trade in services such as tourism has become a new growth area for the bilateral economic cooperation."

He also announced that the third Confucius Institute would be established in Kenya to train locals in agriculture, adding 64 Kenyans have benefitted from Chinese scholarships to study various disciplines.

For China's part, sticking to the road of peaceful development, and building a harmonious world of lasting peace and common prosperity is priority No. 1 since peace, cooperation and development represent the main theme of the times.

Speaking at the Chinese Embassy in Nairobi during the celebrations, Kenya's Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka appealed to international community especially China to support efforts aimed at ensuring that there is peace and stability in Somalia.

"China and other members of the international community are also engaged to support the reconstruction efforts in Somalia in order to ensure lasting peace and security in the country and the region at large," said Musyoka.

"Kenya Defense Forces (KDF) and the allied forces under AMISOM have had great success and are now decisively marching to Kismayo, the only major stronghold town held by Al-Shabaab in Somalia with expectation that Al-Shabaab will be defeated," Musyoka said.

He said Kenya and allied AMISOM forces who were forced to intervene in the lawless state after the Al-Shabaab militants threatened peace and security in the region were about to succeed in uprooting the militants, but still needed support from friendly partners and the entire international community.

Musyoka's remarks came a day after President Mwai Kibaki appealed to the United Nations mini-Summit on Somalia to send a clear warning and demonstrate resolve to take measures that include sanctions to protect the progress achieved and insulate the reconstruction of Somalia.

Noting that the transformation of Somalia requires effective coordination among national, regional and international actors in support of locally defined and owned programs, President Kibaki told the international community to watch out on individuals or actors intent on obstructing the peace-building process.

The President who is in New York for the UN General Assembly, asked the UN Security Council to incorporate a maritime component to the AMISOM mandate as well as include a training component for the Somalia security forces in order to facilitate a smooth handover by AMISOM and create an enabling environment for reconstruction and sustainable development.

"Today, the situation in Somalia presents the best opportunity ever for peace-building. As the UN embarks on efforts to develop a comprehensive reconstruction strategy for Somalia, it is important to work closely with neighboring countries, IGAD and the African Union," Kibaki said.

President Kibaki expressed hope that the summit would re-affirm the world's commitment to get Somalia on the path to sustainable peace, stability and development and pledged Kenya's unwavering support to the people of Somalia as they embark on the reconstruction of their country.

He said lasting peace in Somalia was dependent on the determination of the Somali people to live together in harmony and the full commitment by the international community to facilitate quick socioeconomic reconstruction and development.

"Such efforts must be well coordinated, as a basis to bestow sufficient and sustainable legitimacy to the new Government. They must enhance people's participation in their governance and increase Somali ownership and support for the new political system, " said President Kibaki.

He therefore stressed that it was important to stabilize the areas liberated by AMISOM forces particularly South-Central Somalia and the roll-out of social services and restarting various economic activities such as trade and agriculture.

The Somalia National Army and AMISOM forces are advancing on Kismayo and other remaining key areas of Southern Somalia in a bid to clear the Al-Shabaab militants and gain control of the region.

Apart from the Somali issue, Musyoka also promised that Kenya will work closely with China and other interested parties towards achieving a new agreement aimed at reducing the effects of global warming particularly in the least developed countries "which emit the least but are most affected" by global warming.

Musyoka lauded the cordial relations existing between Kenya and China which he said have seen the two sign many bilateral pacts on cooperation especially in the education, culture, transport, agriculture, diplomacy and technical development sectors.

He particularly thanked China for coming up with the Forum for China Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) under which the Thika Super Highway, several by-passes, and the Mama Lucy Kibaki Hospital in Nairobi among other projects have been implemented.

"The Forum has given rise to greater significance and impetus to China-Africa and Kenya-China relations. We call for continued dedication in implementing the recently agreed outcomes of FOCAC meeting held in China in July this year," Musyoka added.

The VP said more of such cooperation of mutual benefit to the peoples of Kenya and China will be seen in the coming years.

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