President John Magufuli has assured Chinese President Xi Jinping of continued cooperation in strengthening capacity of the armies of the two countries and other social development matters.
Dr Magufuli pledged the above yesterday in talks with the Vice-Chairman of the Central Military Commission of the Chinese People’s Liberation Army (PLA), General Fan Changlong, at the State House in Dar es Salaam.
The president asked Gen Fan to convey his appreciation and Tanzania’s assurance in continued military cooperation to President XI, who is Commander- in-Chief of the PLA.
A statement issued yesterday by the Directorate of Presidential Communications, signed by its director, Mr Gerson Msigwa, said the two leaders discussed a range of issues basing on the long-standing military cooperation between the two countries.
President Magufuli told Gen Fan that Tanzania valued such cooperation, which has largely contributed to efforts to strengthen the Tanzania People’s Defence Forces (TPDF) to turn it into a modern, wellequipped army. “I am pleased with your visit to our country.
The visit will further cement the existing relations and cooperation between our countries, which were pioneered by our founding fathers, the late Mwalimu Julius Kambarage Nyerere of Tanzania and the late Chairman Mao Tse-tung of China,” Dr Magufuli said.
“Please tell President Xi that apart from our military cooperation, we would like to see China in the frontline in supporting us in our development efforts by setting up industries and implementing other projects such as construction of the Central Railway Line at standard gauge quality,” he added.
Gen Fan praised President Magufuli for his leadership and promised that China would continue strengthening cooperation with Tanzania in the area of security by building the capacity of the TPDF. The PLA is the world’s largest military force, with the strength of approximately 2,285,000 personnel.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute’s data, China became the world’s third largest exporter of major arms between 2010 and 2014, an increase of 143 per cent from the period 2005– 2009.
China’s share of global arms exports hence increased from 3 to 5 per cent. It exported major arms to 18 African states, underlining China’s increasing global presence as an arms supplier between 2010 and 2014.
Following rapid advances in its arms industry, China has become less dependent on arms imports, which decreased by 42 per cent from 2005 to 2009 and from 2010 to 2014.
Present at the talks were the Minister for Defence and National Service, Dr Hussein Mwinyi, the Minister for Foreign Affairs and East African Cooperation, Dr Augustine Mahiga, the Chief of Defence Forces, General Davis Mwamunyange, and other commanders of the armies of the two nations.