Last Updated on: 21st January 2024, 09:39 am
Kampala | President Yoweri Museveni on Saturday met Liu Guozhong, the Special Representative of president Xi Jinping of China.
Guozhong who is also a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and the Vice Premier of the State Council represented Jinping at the 19th Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and will do so at the G-77+ China summit.
In a sideline meeting during the NAM summit at Speke Resort Munyonyo, president Museveni expressed profound appreciation to China for its unwavering support during the anti-colonial struggle and highlighted its crucial role in bolstering Africa’s economic development since its early days of independence.
“We have been together in the Anti-colonial struggle, China supported us when we were fighting for independence, it also supported the freedom-fighting groups in Southern Africa; Mozambique, Zimbabwe and South Africa then the ones who were in political struggles,” Museveni said.
“China started supporting Africa economically even when the economy of China was still small like when Zhou Enlai came to East Africa in 1964, I think that is when they started the Tanzania – Zambia railway.
“Since then, China has grown economically; it has helped Africa even more. We are therefore very happy with China and we don’t agree with the shallow-minded views,” he added.
Museveni further emphasised the need for balanced value-added trade, urging China to open its market to African products.
He underscored the importance of market access as a mutually beneficial strategy for sustainable support, stressing that by buying each other’s goods, nations can foster prosperity and strengthen their economic ties for mutual benefit.
“Now what we want is to put emphasis on market access because this is the best way to help one another sustainably because if you support what I produce, you are supporting my prosperity and when I buy what you produce, I am supporting your prosperity so China should open their markets to African products it is a very easy way of how to help one another for mutual benefit.”
Xi praises Uganda
Guozhong conveyed warm hellos from President Xi Jinping who praised Uganda’s remarkable economic and social development under president Museveni’s leadership.
“I feel very inspired by your remarks. As you mentioned back in 1949 when China was founded it was still a very poor country, but the Chinese leaders made a very important decision of developing relations with African countries by supporting African people in fighting for national independence, and liberation and their efforts to fight imperialism,” he said.
“We are very happy that African leaders including you have not forgotten what China has done for our African friends, so I am confident that as long as we keep our bounding missions and original aspirations, our friendly cooperation will yield more outcomes.”
Guozhong also noted that China supports Uganda in opposing any external interference in its internal affairs, with the former vowing to speak up for Uganda on international platforms to ensure the nation’s sovereignty remains intact.
“Yesterday my delegation and I attended the NAM Summit all day and we listened carefully to your speech and your important views on the international issues concerning world peace and development. I highly agree with you and feel very encouraged by your speech.
Guozhong further expressed deep appreciation for Uganda’s success in hosting the NAM summit, commending the warm hospitality extended to the Chinese delegation.
“It is good to see that Uganda has taken up the chairmanship of NAM and as China, we will provide our support to Uganda to the best of our ability and hope that through our joint efforts and by utilizing platforms such as NAM and G-77+ China summits, we can deliver great benefits to African countries,” he added.
He lauded president Museveni’s vision for market access and revealed that China has granted zero tariffs on 98% of taxable items from Uganda, thus fostering greater trade collaboration.
“We are very happy to see that more Ugandan products are entering the Chinese market and during my visit here, I have seen that there are many potentials that can be tapped based on Uganda’s natural conditions.
“I think with our joint efforts, we can open our markets bigger and in international trade, China never literally seeks trade surplus; meaning we just don’t sell without buying from others.”
Underlining China’s commitment to supporting Uganda’s national development, Guozhong assured continued assistance in medical aid, cultural exchanges, youth programs, and educational opportunities for Ugandan students in China.