China wants more uranium

China, the world’s booming economy has nine nuclear power plants and to fuel its rapid economic growth intends to build two to three nuclear plants each year in the coming 15 years.

Outlining China’s Namibia foreign policy to Namibia and the rest of the Southern African region to the media at his official residence in Windhoek, Yinzhu said that China would continue to strengthen its economic ties with the south west African country.

Amongst the areas of interest for the booming Asian economy would be to import an undisclosed quantity of yellow cake from Namibia.

Namibia has substantial deposits of the world’s most sought after mineral and so far has two international firms mining uranium. Yinzhu also announced that his country was not only interested in uranium but Namibia’s copper and lead as well.

“We may import uranium from Rossing (Uranium Mine) but I can not tell you the quantities and when imports are going to start.

“We are also going to import copper and lead but not in very large quantities,” Yinzhu said.

“Most of the uranium from this country is going to the western countries so we are making arrangements to also start buying (uranium),” he added.

He said that trade between Namibia and China was very small but said that both governments were increasing the areas of co-operation.

Chinese investment to Namibia stands around US$30 million.

“With friendly ties between the two countries continuing to develop, bilateral economic co-operation and trade is sure to enlarge and deepen, bringing more tangible benefits to the two peoples,” Yinzhu said.

He however said that the two countries should enlarge areas of mutually beneficial co-operation and increase bilateral trade volume.

“We should usher in a new phase of our economic co-operation and trade by proceeding from the actual conditions of the two countries.”

China has become a major business presence in Africa, an important source of natural resources, including oil, which Beijing needs to fuel its booming economy.

“Namibia is rich in resources and we are in good position to conduct comprehensive co-operation in agriculture, fishery, infrastructure development, mineral resource development, tourism and telecommunications,” Yinzhu said.

China has splashed billions of dollars in aid and has pledged to fund energy, telecoms and constructions projects worth billions of dollars.

In the Southern African region, Beijing has undertaken to fund energy and telecoms project in concessionary and sometimes free-interest loans.

In Angola, Sub-Saharan Africa’s second largest oil producer after Nigeria, Chinese government has extended a US$4 billion line of credit to fund the country’s reconstruction after nearly three-decades of a devastating civil war in exchange for oil exports.

China is now the second largest oil importer from Angola after United States of America (USA).

Bilateral trade between Africa and China has surged from US$10 billion in 2000 to US$40 billion in 2005, Yinzhu said.

“The Chinese government has all along attached importance to Africa. Strenghthening solidarity and cooperation with African countries has long been an important part of China’s independent foreign policy of peace,” Yinzhu said.

Chinese firms have wrestled 15 percent of Namibia’s construction industry and now account for 30 percent of government’s annual tender volumes. In 2005, bilateral trade volumes between Namibia and China stood at US$136 million, with China importing from Namibia goods worth US$76 million against US$60 million exports to Namibia.

Chinese imports from Namibia stood at US$48 million against US$27 million exports by June this year.

Yinzhu defended China’s policy on Africa saying the relationship had been forged “with blood” referring to China’s help in toppling colonialism in many African states.

“Some people do not want to see a prosperous China and the further development of China-Africa friendly co-operation. To obstruct the development….they choose to spread ‘China Threat’ with huge fanfare by distorting facts, creating rumour and defaming China,” Yinzhu said.

October 2006
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