By Staff Writer WINDHOEK The Chinese people and the Namibian people have a long-standing traditional friendship, Chinese Foreign Minister Li Zhaoxing said in a statement issued on the verge of Chinese President Hu Jintao’s visit to Namibia. President Hu Jintao, who will be accompanied by several Chinese Cabinet Ministers on his eight-nation African tour, is expected in Namibia on Monday where he will have meetings with President Hifikepunye Pohamba. “Before Namibia’s independence, China strongly supported the Namibian people in their just struggle for liberation,” the Chinese Minister stated. “The friendship forged between the two peoples during this period laid a solid foundation for the growth of China-Namibia relations,” stated Li Zhaoxing in his message sent to the media. On 22 March 1990, one day after Namibia gained independence, China entered into diplomatic relations with Namibia. During the 17 years, the bilateral relations have grown smoothly, featuring regular exchanges of high-level visits and fruitful cooperation in economics and trade, cultural, educational, public health and other fields, he narrated. “H.E. Dr Sam Nujoma, President of the SWAPO Party and founding President of Namibia, who is an old friend of the Chinese people, has made 13 visits to China. Since taking office in March 2005, President Hifikepunye Pohamba has actively promoted Namibia’s cooperation with China in many fields. President Pohamba paid a State visit to China in the same year, and went to China again in November 2006 to attend the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation,” he reflected. The Namibian Government has remained committed to the One-China policy and supports China’s cause of reunification. In international affairs, China and Namibia work in close cooperation and mutual support to uphold the interests of developing countries and promote world peace and development. People-to-people contacts between China and Namibia are increasing, deepening mutual understanding and friendship. Seven pairs of sister cities and provinces have been forged between the two countries. Namibia is now a destination for Chinese tourists and this will bring our two peoples even closer. At the invitation of President Hifikepunye Pohamba, President Hu Jintao will be paying a State visit to Namibia on February 5-6 February, added the Foreign Minister who also noted that this will be the second visit to Namibia by a Chinese Head of State following the visit by President Jiang Zemin in 1996. “This will be an historic visit and will surely boost the traditional friendship between China and Namibia, deepen our cooperation in all fields and make China-Namibia friendship blossom and flourish,” he said. The friendly exchanges between China and Africa have a long history. In more than half a century since the inauguration of their diplomatic relations, China and the African countries have been supporting each other and sharing in their struggle for liberation and sovereignty, forging a profound friendship. The two sides have achieved remarkable progress in their respective pursuits for national and economic development through mutual support. “I was posted to Africa for 10 years,” recalls Li Zhaoxing. “As China’s foreign minister, I always return to Africa when I make my first overseas visit in the new year, and each time I was greatly encouraged by Africa’s new progress and the deepening friendship and cooperation between China and Africa. “At the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation held in November 2006, China and Africa established a new type of strategic partnership featuring political equality and mutual trust, economic win-win cooperation and cultural exchange. It brought China-Africa friendship to a new level.” China is the largest developing country, and Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries. Closer friendship and cooperation between China and Africa serve their fundamental interests and enhance global peace and development. China will intensify its efforts in implementing the eight measures announced by President Hu Jintao and other decisions made at the Beijing Summit to strengthen new China-Africa strategic partnership and create an even brighter future for China-Africa friendship and cooperation. Bilateral trade between Namibia and China has expanded in recent years during which Namibia imported a fleet of Chinese locomotives. The volume of bilateral trade between Africa and China has grown rapidly recently, particularly in light of the fact that the ever-expanding Chinese economy is in need of raw materials, minerals and oil. Also, Chinese-owned construction firms were involved in the construction of the New Era offices, the Supreme Court, the Wanaheda Police Station and several other government buildings. Chinese business people have set up shop in all parts of Namibia where they are involved in retailing various merchandises and other affordable goods.