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Chinese Ambassador: China-Botswana cooperation to make greater progress

GABORONE, Dec. 31 (Xinhua) -- China and Botswana have made fruitful achievements in various fields over the past 40 years and could make greater headway in the future, Chinese ambassador to Botswana Zheng Zhuqiang has told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.

The envoy made the remarks as the two sides will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties in 2015.

In history, when Botswana was supporting South Africa's anti- apartheid struggle, China gave timely aid to Botswana when it was in the most difficult conditions. Before the establishment of diplomatic ties, in 1971, Botswana's first President Seretse Khama supported restoration of China's lawful seat in the United Nations under pressure from the west.

These are two vivid examples of exchanges between China and Botswana, which ensure development of bilateral relations, said Zheng.

Over the past 40 years, the two sides witnessed steady and healthy bilateral relations and fruitful achievements which benefit people from the two countries, said Zheng.

Since the establishment of ties, bilateral relations have been developing smoothly with frequent exchange of visits by high level leaderships. In 2010, Chinese President Xi Jinping, then Vice President, visited Botswana. In 2011, Vice-premier Liu Yandong, then State Councilor visited Botswana.

According to the envoy, China helps Botswana build economic houses, schools, roads and other livelihood projects.

In the area of education, China offers scholarships to Botswana students to help them study in China; in the area of health, China has sent 13 medical teams to Botswana, and the 14th will come to the country next year. China also provided medical supports through short term medical experts including eye specialists groups.

The ambassador said the Chinese government plans to send another eye specialists team next year to give relief to Botswana patients.

So far, China and Botswana are both facing tasks of development, China has a big market, the two could make further cooperation on economic diversification, sustainable development, infrastructure, stock raising and agricultural exports etc., said the envoy.

The envoy said the Botswana government pays attention to food security, Beijing and Gaborone have great potential on agriculture cooperation.

Zheng said the Chinese embassy values next year's anniversary and plans to hold a series of celebration activities, including commemoration reception, art performance, seminar on Sino-Africa relations, photo exhibition and so on.

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