China to support Kenya UN bid


By SARAH NANJALA
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China has said it will support Kenya’s bid for a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) in elections scheduled for June next year.

Speaking Monday during a courtesy call on President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House Nairobi, Chinese President Xi Jinping’s special envoy Wang Yong said the Asian country believes Kenya is better placed to voice Africa’s interests at the key UN body.

“We firmly support the reforms of the UN Security Council and believe that Kenya will help to increase the voice of African countries at the UN Security Council,” Mr Wang said.

The Chinese special envoy, who is in the country to attend the launch of the Standard Gauge Railway freight service from Nairobi to the Naivasha Inland Container Depot, congratulated Kenya following its endorsement by the African Union (AU) to vie for the UNSC non-permanent seat.

Following endorsement by the AU, beating Djibouti, Kenya has been lobbying for support from different partner states and diplomats in hopes of clinching the coveted seat.

Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Monica Juma in a previous media briefing said that Kenya is employing a well-crafted strategy to reach out to partners across the globe, targeting some 129 votes out of the 193 member states of the UN with voting rights.

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Although UNSC non-permanent members do not decide on substantive votes such as sanctioning a country, they can, however, get an opportunity to influence agenda.

While the AU’s endorsement almost certainly guarantees Africa’s 55 votes, there is the possibility that an African member country of the UN could refuse to support the candidate approved by the continental bloc.

China’s support as a UN member State, especially since it is among five countries with a permanent seat on the UNSC, brings Kenya a step closer to achieving its goal.

During the meeting at State House, President Kenyatta and Mr Wang also discussed the enhanced bilateral relations between the two countries. On trade, Mr Kenyatta and Mr Wang agreed on the need for the two countries to explore more areas of cooperation and deepen private sector engagement.

The Chinese special envoy, who was accompanied by Chinese Chairman of State Asset Supervision Commission Hao Peng, Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Wu Peng and Deputy Secretary General of State Council Meng Yang, further noted that China is working on an arrangement that will see more of Kenya’s exports get into the expansive Chinese market.

He cited lowering of taxes on frozen avocados from Kenya from 30 to 7 percent, saying that is one way of ensuring the country’s products have increased access to the Chinese market.

Mr Wang also assured Mr Kenyatta that China is keen on encouraging more of its people to visit the country as tourists in a bid to strengthen people to people interaction.

The President, who was in the company of Head of Public Service Joseph Kinyua and Cabinet Secretaries Monica Juma, Ukur Yattani, James Macharia and Fred Matiang’i, commended the partnership between Kenya and China especially on infrastructure development, saying the projects are geared towards stimulating the country’s economic growth.

They also discussed cooperation between the two countries on security, education, science and technology.


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