President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe with People's Republic of China Senior Military Commission Cheif Air Marshal Xu during a visit to Harare. The two countries have close ties going back decades., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
President hails China's military
Monday, 30 May 2011 22:26
PRESIDENT Mugabe yesterday met the visiting Chinese member of the Senior Military Commission Chief Air Marshal Xu Qiliang at State House in Harare.
Cde Mugabe - who is the Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces - paid tribute to China for the support it has rendered to Zimbabwe dating back to colonial period.
Chief Air Marshal Xu is leading a military delegation which is in the country to share experience with their Zimbabwean counterparts.
President Mugabe said China had stood behind Harare, despite the imposition of illegal sanction by the United States and its Western allies.
"China is a great friend of us in many ways. To us all, citizens of China are our great friends," he said.
Cde Mugabe hailed China's military arm saying it has assisted Zimbabwe secure its independence in 1980.
"They have assisted us, in our struggle to free ourselves from colonialism," said President Mugabe, adding that it would have been difficult to attain freedom without Beijing's support.
In an interview after the closed-door meeting, Defence Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa said the Chinese military supremo had come to cement bilateral relations between Harare and Beijing.
"He was conveying a message to His Excellency, the President which he carried from his President, Hu Jintao. His mission is to promote and cement the relationship between the two countries," said Minister Mnanga- gwa.
Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Xin Shunkang said the discussions centred on how to share experiences in the context of the long-standing relationship.
He said construction of the Defence College near Ma-zowe was at an advanced stage.
"I am sure with the handwork of people working on it, it can be finished earlier. Initially it was three years, but they can finish a year earlier."
ZDF Commander General Constantine Chiwenga, Air Force Commander Air Marshal Perrance Shiri and other senior military officers also attended yesterday's meeting.
Gen Chiwenga hosted a dinner on Sunday for Chief Air Marshal Xu and his delegation where he hailed China for its support to Zimbabwe.
Gen Chiwenga thanked China for the military assistance to the ZDF through training and supply of military hardware.
At the dinner, Chief Air Marshal Xu also commended the relationship between the two countries.
He said Zimbabwe was a renowned country with a lot of history whose people are hospitable adding that his visit sought to enhance relations.
Zimbabwe and China enjoy cordial relations dating back to the pre-independence era when Beijing assisted Harare in its fight to attain independence.