Continuing success of China-Kenya cooperation requires unremitting efforts from both sides
On May 13th, I arrived in Nairobi, the “green city in the sun”, and started my tenure as the 15th Chinese Ambassador to Kenya and Permanent Representative to the UNEP and the UN-Habitat. After presenting my credentials to H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta on June 5th, I officially began to perform the full duty of Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary. It is a glorious mission and weighty responsibility, especially when China-Kenya relations have reached a historical high. And I am well prepared and full of confidence.
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, receives Ambassador Sun Baohong’s credentials in Nairobi’s State House, June 5, 2018. [Photo provided to China Plus]
My confidence comes from my great motherland. China, with over 5000 years of remarkable history and splendid civilization, had gone through grave sufferings since the 19th century. The Chinese people, under the strong leadership of the Communist Party of China (CPC), have fought fearlessly, achieved national liberalization and independence, blazed a new trail of socialism with Chinese characteristics and successfully carried out the reform and opening-up policy. The 19th National Congress of the CPC held last October has ushered in a new era of socialism with Chinese characteristics, marking a new chapter of fulfilling the Chinese dream of great rejuvenation. As a witness and participant in this great era, I feel so lucky and proud of being appointed ambassador, not for the first time, to the beautiful continent of Africa and making my contribution to the China-Kenya friendship and cooperation.
My confidence comes from the vigorously developing Kenya. This wonderful land is full of hope and vitality with favourable natural and geographical conditions, where the diligent and brave Kenyan people have created a unique culture of diversity. Since its independence, Kenya has gradually grown into a hub of trade, finance, transportation and international communication of East Africa, and has been playing an increasingly essential role in regional and international affairs. Nowadays, the Kenyan government and people are striving to achieve the Vision 2030 and the Big Four plan. The Kenyan people from all sectors are making efforts to seek for national development while narrowing differences. I believe that Kenya will keep the momentum of social and economic development in the coming years.
My confidence comes from the solid foundation and strong driving force of China-Kenya relations. Over 600 years ago, the fleets led by the great Chinese navigator Zheng He visited Kenyan coast several times and started the friendly exchanges between China and Kenya. Since China and Kenya established diplomatic ties in 1963, especially in recent years, China-Kenya relations have undergone a leapfrog development. The two sides enjoy frequent exchanges of high level visits, with political trust being further strengthened and friendship between our people and dynamic cooperation in all fields being deepened. The China-Kenya cooperation has set an example for the China-Africa cooperation. Last year, H.E. President Xi Jinping and H.E. President Uhuru Kenyatta agreed to upgrade China-Kenya relations to the Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership (CSCP). The Nairobi-Mombasa SGR, as one of the important and earliest harvest of the Belt and Road Initiative, has been successfully completed and operated. We celebrated its first anniversary on the Madaraka Day. Just like the Madaraka Express, the China-Kenya cooperation is entering a golden era of high-speed development.
My confidence also comes from the indissoluble bond between Africa and myself. During my diplomatic career, I have spent more than 20 years on China-Africa relations. I have visited more than 30 African countries and witnessed the notable changes of this ancient continent. I fully understand African people’s aspiration for peace and development. I feel more than honoured to continuously get involved in the historical process of African development. As the first Chinese female ambassador to Kenya, I will try my best to carry forward Chinese women’s traditional virtue of amity and perseverance, demonstrate the features of self-confidence and exceptional bravery, spare no efforts to perform my solemn duty, and push forward the China-Kenya cooperation to a new high.
Since the first day of taking office, I have been engaged in busy work and embraced by the hospitality of Kenyan people. This year marks the 55th anniversary of China-Kenya diplomatic relations, which is another memorable year for our two countries. The Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) will be held in Beijing in September. The leaders of China and African countries will get together again to map out the blueprint for the new era and discuss the significant measures to enhance our mutual cooperations and common development. Kenya is China’s strategic partner in pushing forward the Belt and Road Initiative and China-Africa industrial capacity cooperation. China highly values Kenya’s role in the China-Africa relations. China and Kenya are working together to make joint contributions to the success of the historic summit. We will definitely expect more achievements on China-Kenya cooperation brought by this summit.
The first China International Import Expo will be held in Shanghai this November. It is not just another Expo in an ordinary sense, but a major policy initiative and commitment to the opening-up of the Chinese market. Kenya, as a major exporting country in Africa, has been invited and thus Kenyan coffee, tea, flowers and tourism attractions will be showcased and promoted in the Chinese market. As H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping emphasizes, China will continue to adhere to its fundamental national policy of opening-up and pursue development with its door open even wider.
In a few days, H.E. Mr. Wang Yang, Member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), will lead a delegation to visit Kenya at the invitation of Honorable Mr. Justin Muturi, Speaker of Kenyan Parliament. H.E. Mr. Wang will exchange views with Kenyan leaders on deepening mutual cooperations and share governance experience. I believe this important visit will give a vigorous boost to China-Kenya relations. We are working closely with Kenyan friends to ensure fruitful deliverables and a big success of this high level visit.
There is an ancient Chinese proverb which says, “Continuing success requires unremitting efforts”. China-Kenya relations are standing at a new starting point with an even brighter future. The better future requires efforts from both sides. As Chinese ambassador to Kenya, I will adhere to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests. On the basis of mutual respect, equality and shared benefits, I will roll up sleeves and work together with my Kenyan brothers and sisters, to further tap our cooperation potential and foster new growth areas, with the aim of enriching the China-Kenya CSCP and maintaining the healthy and fast development of our bilateral relations, thus bringing more benefits to the people of both countries.
Author: Ms Sun Baohong, the 15th Chinese Ambassador to Kenya is also her country’s permanent representative to two global institutions-United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and United Nations Human Settlement Programme (UN-Habitat).