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Chinese ambassador: Tanzania-China relations "a friend in need"

Source: Xinhua | 02-12-2009 08:05

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DAR ES SALAAM, Feb. 11 (Xinhua) -- The phrase "a friend in need is a friend indeed" is a handy portrait of the relationship between China and Tanzania during the past half century, says the Chinese ambassador to the African nation.

China was among the first few countries to recognize the independence of Tanganyika in 1961 and Tanzania was among the African countries that made efforts to help return China to the United Nations in 1972, Ambassador Liu Xinsheng said during a lunar New Year celebration with overseas Chinese.

Though China was a long way from welfare itself in the 1960s, it did not hesitate to send doctors and nurses to help with the medical development of the African country. The help first began in the Indian Ocean archipelago of Zanzibar in 1964 and then in the Tanzania mainland starting in 1968, Liu said.

He added that experts on agriculture, construction and mineral also came to the assistance of their Tanzanian counterparts in their respective fields.

Later, tens of thousands of railway workers came to build the 1,860-kilometer Tanzania-Zambia Railway, better known in East Africa as the TAZARA, he said.

Bilateral trade has grown more than 10 fold since the turn of this century, increasing from 93.44 million U.S. dollars in 2001 to over 900 million dollars last year, bringing Tanzania up to 15th among the 60 African economies that trade with China.