China Gives Cautious Endorsement of Zambia Election

China has given a cautious endorsement of Zambia's presidential election results, after longtime Zambian opposition leader Michael Sata defeated China-friendly President Rupia Banda this week.

A Chinese foreign ministry spokesman said China is a friendly country to Zambia and respects the Zambian peoples' choices. He said China wants to work with Zambia's new government to promote friendship and expand mutual cooperation.

The spokesman would not say if China's policies toward Zambia would shift. Mr. Sata is a nationalist politician who campaigned against his predecessor's China policies.

China had a large stake in the Zambian election. Beijing has rapidly growing trade and investments in Zambia, and last month made it the first African nation where the Bank of China offers services in the Chinese currency, the yuan.

Also, China has a strong presence in retail and other industrial sectors in Zambia, and competes with locals in a wide range of markets, including chicken farming.

Zambia is Africa's biggest copper producer, and Chinese mining firms had invested $2 billion by the end of last year.