BEIJING (Reuters) -Chinese President Xi Jinping told his Zambian counterpart in a telephone call on Tuesday that China was willing to strengthen and broaden bilateral ties with Zambia, according to a Chinese state television report.
Over the past year, China-Zambia relations have maintained positive momentum, Xi said, adding that China will promote the entry of more Zambian products into the Chinese market, especially high-quality agricultural goods.
China will also strengthen epidemic control cooperation with Zambia, he told President Hakainde Hichilema.
In a statement posted on his official Facebook page, Hichilema said: “We discussed the potential for greater cooperation and win-win partnerships, the abundant investment opportunities that Zambia offers, and our shared commitment to working together to address and resolve the debt issue.”
In 2020, Zambia became the first nation to default in the COVID-19 era. At the end of 2021, its external debt stood at $17.27 billion, of which China held $5.78 billion.
The Chinese media report did not mention Zambia’s debts.
(Reporting by Ryan Woo, additional reporting by Rachel Savage in London; Editing by Kevin Liffey)