Interview: Namibia-China relations closer amid fight against COVID-19: ambassador

Source:Xinhua 2020-04-07


WINDHOEK, April 4 (Xinhua) -- The relations between China and the southern African country Namibia are further strengthened by strong mutual support in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, said Chinese Ambassador to Namibia Zhang Yiming on Saturday.

Zhang said that when the novel coronavirus outbreak was rapidly spreading in China, Namibia's President Hage Geingob expressed support for the Chinese people and their fight against the virus, "demonstrating the all-weather friendship between the two countries."

The Chinese side has regularly briefed the Namibian government on China's COVID-19 situation, he told Xinhua in an interview.

Meanwhile, "We have updated the Namibian government on the living and study conditions of some 500 Namibian students in China and maintained close interaction to jointly make sure the students are safe and sound," Zhang added.

In quick response to Namibia's coronavirus outbreak, the Chinese ambassador said the embassy has donated 1,000 test kits to the Namibian government, adding that Alibaba's Jack Ma had donated 20,000 test kits, 100,000 masks and 1,000 protective suits for medical staff and face shields to Namibia.

"Chinese medical experts held a video conference to share their fighting COVID-19 experience with their African Union counterparts and 24 other African countries, including Namibia," he said.

The envoy said that China, as President Xi Jinping pledged in a phone conversation held Friday with Geingob, is expected to step up assistance to Namibia and other African countries to support their fight against COVID-19.

The two presidents' phone conversation injected new, strong impetus into the development of bilateral relations, the Chinese ambassador said, adding he was confident about a closer relationship between the two countries.

"The year marked the 30th anniversary of China-Namibia diplomatic relations and the bilateral relations are faced with new historical opportunities," said Zhang.

Over the past 30 years, "the two countries have made great headway in cooperation in economy, trade and investment," he said.

"In recent years, under the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the cooperation between our two countries has entered a fast track," Zhang said, adding that jointly building the Belt and Road is another big step in enhancing practical bilateral cooperation.

China is currently Namibia's largest source of foreign investment and export market, Zhang said. "Nowadays, on the Chinese dining table, we can see Namibia's high-quality free-range beef and fresh Atlantic oysters."

He said that he believes that in the future, the two countries will continue their traditional friendship, maintain the momentum of high-level exchanges, strengthen coordination in international affairs, and further enhance their mutual political trust.

In particular, continued bilateral cooperation under the frameworks of FOCAC and the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) will bring more tangible benefits to the two peoples, he said.


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