Question: Your Excellency, could you brief us on the highlights and major outcomes of this important visit?
Amb. Wang: Invited by Tanzanian Foreign Minister Prof. Palamagamba Kabudi, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid an official and friendly visit to Tanzania on 7-8 January 2021. Prior to his visit to Tanzania, H.E. Wang Yi visited Nigeria, D.R. Congo and Botswana.
Afterwards, he paid an official visit to Seychelles. During his visit to Tanzania, H.E. Wang Yi met with President John Magufuli, held bilateral talks with Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi and jointly met the press with the latter.
He also attended the signing ceremony of the Design and Build Contract for an Electrified Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) Line from Mwanza to Isaka, inaugurated Chato District Vocational Training Centre together with Minister for Education, Science and Technology Prof. Joyce Ndalichako, and visited the Mwaloni fishing village.
In their meetings, H.E. Wang Yi, President John Pombe Magufuli and Foreign Minister Palamagamba Kabudi reached four consensuses. First, China-Tanzania traditional friendship is a precious treasure shared by both sides and the people of China and Africa.
It must be cherished, passed on from generation to generation and carried forward. Second, both sides have agreed to make full use of our shared vision and goals in the construction of the country, political parties and armed forces, in a bid to further enhance communications at all levels and deepen exchanges of experience on governance.
Third, both sides have agreed to strengthen practical cooperation under the Belt and Road, support more Chinese enterprises to invest in Tanzania and expand import of Tanzanian high-quality products.
Fourth, both sides have agreed to strengthen coordination in international affairs, jointly support multilateralism, oppose foreign interference, safeguard international fairness and justice, and build a strong fortress to safeguard each other’s core interests and the common interests of developing countries.
Attending the inauguration ceremony of Chato District Vocational Training Centre, H.E. Wang Yi, on behalf of the Chinese Government, announced the donation of RMB 1 million yuan (around US$154,000) to support the Training Centre in procurement of fishing materials and equipment, which was highly praised by the Tanzanian side.
Question: China-Tanzania relations have been the focus of media attention recently. On 15th December 2020, President Xi Jinping had a historic telephone conversation with his Tanzanian counterpart John Magufuli. Lately, Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid an official friendly visit to Tanzania. Why did State Councilor Wang Yi choose Tanzania as one stop of his first overseas visit in 2021? What’s the significance of this visit to the development of China-Tanzania relations?
Amb. Wang: Chinese Foreign Minister’s visit to Africa at the beginning of a year has been a fine tradition for 31 years, and has become a major feature of China’s diplomacy.
In particular, against the backdrop of the COVID-19 pandemic, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi has upheld this tradition and taken concrete actions to demonstrate the great importance China attaches to Africa and the unbreakable brotherly friendship between China and Africa.
The development of China’s friendly relations with Tanzania plays an important role in China’s diplomacy. China-Tanzania relations play an exemplary and leading role in China-Africa relations. In March 2013, President Xi Jinping visited Tanzania on his first overseas visit after taking office, where he put forward the policy of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith.
Tanzania is the place where China initiated its policy toward Africa in the new era. Last October, after President John Magufuli was re-elected, President Xi Jinping was the first head of state outside Africa to send a congratulatory message to him.
Last December, the two heads of state held a historic telephone conversation, charting the course for the future development of bilateral relations.
State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi’s visit to Tanzania at this important juncture aims to help the two sides build more consensuses, implement the outcomes of the phone talk between the two heads of state, and strive for early and more tangible results.
His visit also aims at further expressing China’s congratulations and support to President John Magufuli on his re-election and the establishment of the new Tanzanian government, as well as China’s firm determination to strengthen the bilateral friendly relations.
It is worth mentioning that during his visit to Tanzania, State Councilor Wang Yi announced China’s seven-point proposition on upgrading China- Africa cooperation, which highlights the special status of Tanzania during his visit to Africa.
State Councilor Wang Yi’s visit was fruitful and played an important role in promoting the sustained development and upgrade of China-Tanzania comprehensive partnership. This visit has deepened the consensus for consolidating the traditional friendship between China and Tanzania.
Both sides spoke highly of the historical and present-day significance of China-Tanzania friendship to the development of both countries and China- Africa solidarity, stressing that China-Tanzania friendship is a precious treasure created by the older-generation leaders of the two countries and should be inherited from generation to generation.
State Councilor Wang Yi has said on several occasions that China and Tanzania are the best friends in the world. His heartfelt and sincere remarks were warmly responded by the Tanzanian side. This visit has injected impetus into the practical coop eration between China and Tanzania.
The two sides conducted in-depth exchanges on mutually beneficial cooperation in various fields, especially in trade and economic fields, identified key areas of cooperation for the next step, and formed new ideas for China and Tanzania jointly building the Belt and Road, so as to further expand the converging interests of the two sides and create new growth points for cooperation.
This visit provides an opportunity to form synergy between China’s and Tanzania’s development strategies. Both countries have entered a new stage of development and embarked on a new historic journey.
The two sides agreed to better align China’s 14th Five- Year Plan with Tanzania’s 2020-2025 Election Manifesto, consolidate and expand the strategic opportunities facing the development of China- Tanzania ties, properly handle problems and challenges in the course of cooperation and development, and provide greater impetus for Tanzania to realize its strategic goal of independent development.
Question: Belt and Road cooperation is an important topic in H.E. Wang Yi’s visit to Tanzania. From what areas and projects will China start in its Belt and Road cooperation with Tanzania, and what concrete measures will China take to promote such cooperation?
Amb. Wang: President Xi Jinping has proposed making the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) a model of cooperation, health, recovery and growth. This has charted the course for the Belt and Road international cooperation.
When Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi paid his official visit to Tanzania, China and Tanzania decided to strengthen practical cooperation and will join hands together to pursue BRI cooperation.
In the next step, both sides will enhance policy communication and coordination, seek greater synergy between our development strategies, actively implement the important consensus reached by President Xi Jinping and President Magufuli in last December, and jointly promote BRI cooperation in the following areas.
First, we will focus on infrastructure construction and help Tanzania achieve connectivity with neighboring countries.
China will encourage competent companies to participate in the construction of Tanzanian key projects, assist Tanzania to update railway, road, port, airport, energy, communication and other infrastructure projects, and inject impetus to Tanzanian economic growth.
Second, China will expand imports of Tanzanian high quality products and strengthen the bond of our industrial and supply chains.
China is speeding up the implementation of a new dual-cycle development pattern, and would like to take it as an opportunity to increase imports of Tanzanian sesame, cassava, soybean and other products and actively explore opening up the market for Tanzanian honey, sunflower meal and other agricultural products.
We will encourage bilateral e-commerce cooperation, support Tanzania to participate in China International Import Expo (CIIE), China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and Canton Fair, and promote more exports of Tanzanian high quality products to China.
Third, we will strengthen productivity cooperation and enhance Tanzania’s capacity for independent development.
China will encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest in Tanzanian agriculture, livestock, manufacturing, mining, tourism and other pillar industries, help Tanzania to accelerate industrialization process, translate its resource advantages into development advantages, and strengthen its internal driving force of independent development.
Fourth, we will enhance cooperation in scientific innovation to help Tanzania to achieve sustainable development. China is willing to share its development experiences of the digital economy, assisting Tanzania to update fiber optic backbone networks and other communication facilities.
Both sides will cooperate on renewable energy, pursue green, low-carbon, circular and sustainable development, enhance public health cooperation and jointly advance the development of a Health Silk Road.
Question: During the visit, the Tanzanian side has put forward some specific appeals to China, such as to expand the imports of agricultural imports from Tanzania, to forgive some debts that Tanzania owes to China, and to open direct flights between Tanzania and China. How will China respond to these appeals?
Amb. Wang: China has always attached great importance to expanding imports of Tanzanian agriculture products in recent years, and will import more Tanzanian high-quality products through building the new development paradigm of dual circulation.
Firstly, we will support the competent authorities of both sides to accelerate negotiations on inspection and quarantine requirements regarding the access of Tanzanian highquality agricultural products to the Chinese market.
China has opened its market to Tanzanian tobacco, cassava flour and soybean, and will further grant market access for Tanzanian sunflower meal, honey, avocado and other agricultural products. Secondly, we will actively use CIIE and other platforms to introduce Tanzanian highquality products and tourist resources to Chinese consumers.
Thirdly, we will encourage more Chinese enterprises to invest in Tanzanian agro and mineral processing industries, and develop Tanzania as a bridgehead for Chinese companies to enter the eastern and southern African markets.
Fourthly, we will encourage cooperation on e-commerce, mobile payment and other new areas, and pursue creative ways to boost bilateral trade. China attached great importance to the challenges caused by COVID-19 to African countries and is actively implementing the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI).
Thanks to China’s effort, G20 has extended the period of DSSI to 30th June 2021. At present, China ranks the first among G20 members who have carried out DSSI by suspending US$ 1,353 million of debt service payments from 23 countries, including US$ 817 million from 15 African countries.
China takes into account Tanzania’s debt fragility issue resulting from COVID-19 seriously. The two sides have successfully signed the DSSI agreement for 2020, and currently are discussing the debt service suspension by June 2021 in an active manner.
Air Tanzania is to launch direct flights between Tanzania and China, which is a big event in the history of China- Tanzania relations. It will facilitate personal exchanges, and greatly advance the communication and mutual understanding between our two countries and two peoples.
We hope this flight route could be opened as early as possible, forging a strong bond of friendship among our peoples, and further promote bilateral cooperation in the fields such as economy and trade, culture and tourism in the future.
Question: We have noted that Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi and the Tanzanian leaders have agreed to strengthen China-Tanzania coordination in international affairs and promote international fairness and justice. What is the reason for this and what will the two sides do in this regard?
Amb. Wang: China and Tanzania are not only close friends sharing weal and woe, but also sincere partners for common development on the way forward.
Strengthening coordination in international affairs and promoting international fairness and justice by China and Tanzania have a long history, and it is in the common interests of China, Tanzania, and other developing countries.
First of all, this is a fine tradition of solidarity and cooperation between China and Tanzania. China-Tanzania relations with the original mission of opposing power politics, seeking freedom, and advocating justice, started from the period of struggles for African national liberation.
China’s assistance in the construction of TAZARA and Tanzania’s support for the restoration of the People’s Republic of China’s lawful seat in the United Nations have left good stories in the history of international relations.
Secondly, this is a realistic need of China and Tanzania to safeguard each other’s legitimate rights and interests. Both China and Tanzania have urgent demands for safeguarding sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity, and face severe challenges in dealing with foreign interference.
Tanzania has been firmly supporting China on issues relating to Xinjiang, Hong Kong, and Taiwan since last year. China has also supported Tanzania in its efforts to hold an independent and smooth general election.
The two sides share much common ground in terms of opposing foreign interference in their internal affairs, which further highlights the importance and necessity of China and Tanzania speaking out boldly to uphold justice for each other.
Thirdly, this is the proper meaning of solidarity and self-reliance among developing countries. At present, the COVID-19 pandemic is accelerating the pace of profound changes unseen in a century. The uncertainty and instability in the international situation have become more prominent, and the collective rise of developing countries has encountered more challenges.
As principled and courageous countries, both China and Tanzania should defend multilateralism, practice international cooperation, and make more contributions to the maintenance of world peace and development.
In the future, China and Tanzania will continue to support each other’s independent exploration of development paths that suit their national conditions, support each other’s efforts to safeguard sovereignty, independence and national security, as well as oppose foreign interference, and continue to be “fellow travelers” watching and helping one another.
China and Tanzania will strengthen dialogue and cooperation in the United Nations, the African Union, the East African Community, the Southern African Development Community and other regional and sub-regional organizations, support Africa’s self development through unity and revitalization, and expand the representation and voices of African countries in international organizations and international affairs.
China and Tanzania will continue to jointly safeguard the authority of the United Nations and the multilateral system, maintain close communication and coordination on global issues such as UN reforms, climate change, public health, poverty reduction and development, and promote the reforms of the global governance system in the direction of greater fairness and reasonableness in line with the overall and long-term interests of developing countries.