China to sever ties with Zambia if pro-Taiwan leader wins election
Updated: 2006-09-05 16:18

LUSAKA - China will sever diplomatic ties with Zambia if opposition leader Michael Sata wins this month's general elections and recognises Taiwan as a sovereign state, a senior diplomat has said.

"We shall have nothing to do with Zambia if Sata wins the elections and goes ahead to recognise Taiwan," Chinese ambassador Li Baodong told AFP late Monday.

Sata, a veteran politician and leader of the opposition Patriotic Front, is the main challenger to incumbent President Levy Mwanawasa in the September 28 elections and has been tipped by analysts as a serious contender.

He ruffled feathers recently by accusing China of "dumping their people here to take up shops meant for our people".

He also angered Beijing by describing the rival regime in Taiwan as "a sovereign state".

Sata has also threatened to expel Chinese, Lebanese and Indian traders who have flooded Zambia saying they were not investors but "infestors".