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Xi mourns passing of Zambia’s Kaunda

President Xi Jinping has sent a message of condolence to Zambian President Edgar Lungu over the death of the African country's founding president Kenneth Kaunda.

Kaunda served as Zambian president from 1964, when the country won independence from Britain, to 1991

Kaunda, the first president of Zambia after the country's independence and Zambia's founding father, passed away on June 17 at the age of 97.

In his message on Tuesday, Xi pointed out that Kaunda was an internationally renowned leader of the African independence movement, a politician and social activist as well as a founder of China-Zambia relations.

Kaunda earnestly promoted bilateral friendly cooperation in various fields and developed a profound friendship with Chinese leaders, Xi noted.

The Chinese people will always remember his outstanding contribution to the development of China-Zambia relations, Xi said.

Xi said he is ready to work further with Lungu to deepen the traditional friendship between China and Zambia, expand friendly cooperation in various fields, and promote the bilateral friendship to benefit the two countries and their peoples.

Kaunda served as Zambian president from 1964, when the country won independence from Britain, to 1991.

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He made historic contributions to the liberation movements in southern Africa, and the Council of Ministers of Mozambique decreed on Friday a six-day national mourning observance to honor Kaunda.

"Kaunda was also a good old friend of the Chinese people," Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian said at a recent news conference.

In promoting the China-Zambia friendship, Kaunda put forward the then innovative term of "all-weather friendship" to define the bilateral relationship.

The spokesman said that when meeting with Kaunda during a China visit in 1974, Chairman Mao Zedong put forward the well-known Three Worlds Theory, a landmark international relations theory that put countries in the world at that time into three categories.

"We deeply mourn for Kaunda's passing and express our sincere sympathy to the government and people of Zambia and his loved ones. We stand ready to work with Zambia for constant progress in our friendly cooperation with Zambia and the rest of Africa," Zhao said.