Brian Mundubile, the Leader of the Opposition in Parliament, has urged President Hakainde Hichilema to visit his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in order to strengthen the close relationship between Zambia and China. Mr Mundubile emphasized the importance of maintaining strong ties with China, given the significant support that the Chinese government has provided to Zambia, particularly in terms of infrastructure development. He pointed out that while President Hichilema has visited the United States several times since taking office, he has not yet visited China, despite its importance to Zambia.
Mr Mundubile’s comments were in response to a tweet by United States Senator Jim Risch, in which he praised President Hichilema for working to curb China’s “malign and predatory influence” in Zambia. This praise from the US Senator has caused concern among some in Zambia, who fear that it could jeopardize the close relationship that Zambia has with China. In response, Mr Mundubile stated that it is important for the Zambian government to reject any attempts by other countries to create divisions between Zambia and China. He emphasized that Zambia has a sovereign right to choose its own friends and partners, and will not allow any foreign nation to dictate its relationships.
Mr Mundubile pointed out the numerous infrastructure projects that Zambia has benefited from with the support of China, including roads and sports stadiums in Lusaka and the Copperbelt. He expressed concern that President Hichilema did not adequately address the issue of Zambia’s relationship with China during a recent press conference, and urged President Hichilema to prioritize a trip to China to meet with President Xi in order to address any concerns and reaffirm Zambia’s commitment to its friendship with China.
Furthermore, Mr Mundubile cautioned the United Party for National Development (UPND) administration to carefully consider the impact that any actions or statements regarding China could have on Zambia’s economic stability. He pointed out that Zambia is currently in negotiations with the International Monetary Fund for a loan, and that a significant portion of Zambia’s debt is held by China. Any insinuations or actions that could jeopardize the relationship between Zambia and China could also potentially jeopardize these negotiations and the economic plans of the UPND administration.
In conclusion, Mr Mundubile emphasized the importance of maintaining strong and positive relations with China, and urged President Hichilema to prioritize a visit to China to meet with President Xi in order to reaffirm Zambia’s commitment to this relationship. He also called on the UPND administration to carefully consider the impact of any actions or statements regarding China on Zambia’s economic stability and future prosperity.