Beijing’s top most diplomat Wang Yi is in the country in what appears to be a spirited push by the China to resuscitate dwindling relations with the president William Ruto’s administration after enjoying a two decade long undeterred penetration in Kenya’s economy during the late retired president Mwai Kibaki and immediate former president Uhuru Kenyatta’s reign.
However, after Ruto’s ascendancy to power, the command influence the Chinese state owned companies in infrastructure and energy sectors have seemingly shrunk significantly amid huge entry by the western countries notably the United States of America (USA) and the United Kingdom taking the lead in calling the shots.
Wang arrived in the country yesterday night for a three-day official visit and was received at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport by Transport Cabinet Secretary Kipchumba Murkomen.
Others at hand to receive the senior diplomat were Chinese Ambassador to Kenya Zhou Pingjian and Foreign Affairs Principal Secretary Dr. Abraham Korir Sing’oei.
By virtue of his position, Wang is the highest ranking diplomat representing the People’s Republic of China
“By virtue of his position he is the highest ranking diplomat representing the People’s Republic of China.” Murkomen said.
Wang is currently serving as a member of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC) Central Committee and as the Director of the Office of the Central Commission for Foreign Affairs.
Soon after his Arrival, Murkomen expressed optimism that Wang Yi’s tour will be gainful to Kenya. He appeared to indicate that cooperation between China and Kenya particularly as far as expansion of the country’s infrastructure is concerned, will form part of the agenda of Wang’s visit.
“I look forward to deepening and widening our relationship touching on matters roads and transport.” Murkomen added.
Prior to his elevation to the current position, Wang Yi served as State Councillor and Chinese Foreign Minister.
He will also visit Nigeria and South Africa where he will attend the 13th Meeting of BRICS National Security Advisers and High Representatives on National Security meeting.
Among the key highlights that have marked strained relations between China and Kenya under president Ruto’s leadership is the China Square row in Juja, Kiambu county earlier this year that saw the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China issue ultimatum to Kenyan government against move by Trade, Investments and Industry Cabinet Secretary Moses Kuria to close down the outlet.
“The Embassy has taken note of the recent situation on the issue of “China Square”, and would like to reiterate that the Embassy supports deepening trade and investment cooperation between China and Kenya, and supports Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens in conducting business in accordance with Kenyan laws and regulations.” The statement read in part.
The embassy demanded that the Kenyan government must protect the rights of its citizens and legitimate investors of Chinese decent.
“At the same time, we hope that the Kenyan government will protect the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese enterprises and Chinese citizens, and create an inclusive and friendly business environment, so as to better promote China-Kenya practical cooperation and bring benefit to our two countries and two peoples,” the Embassy said.