Monday, November 06, 2006

Presidents Mugabe and Mbeki Meet With Chinese Leader After Sino-African Summit

Mugabe to meet Hu Jintao

Beijing, China
06 November 2006 09:27

Chinese President Hu Jintao was to meet on Monday with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe amid accusations that Beijing's ties help to shore up a pariah regime other governments avoid.

China has faced criticism for not toeing the world diplomatic line in isolating Mugabe's regime, which is accused by opponents and rights groups of using torture and arbitrary arrest to quell dissent.

The meeting was just one of several one-on-one encounters planned on Monday between top Chinese leaders and the leaders of African countries who attended a two-day China-Africa summit in Beijing that concluded on Sunday.

The summit was seen as strengthening China's ties with Africa and resulted in $1,9-billion in trade deals, plus Chinese promises of aid, debt relief, and increased bilateral trade in the years ahead.

But fast-growing China, which is keen to gain access to African energy resources, has been criticized for engaging some tainted African nations without pushing for improvements in human rights and governance.

A report issued ahead of the summit by Human Rights Watch urged China to uses its diplomatic leverage to encourage positive change in countries such as Zimbabwe.

"Despite Beijing's growing concerns about Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's repressive tactics -- most noticeably his willingness to literally starve his opposition and destroy the Zimbabwean economy --China has continued to sell the Zimbabwean government technology that enables it to monitor electronic communications," the report said.

Hu met on Friday with President Omar al-Beshir of Sudan, another regime under intense international criticism for widespread killings, rapes and abductions by government-armed forces in the country's western Darfur region.

China has rejected pressure from other countries over its own human rights record as outside interference and refused to apply similar pressure on its African allies. - Sapa-AFP

Compiled by the Government Communication and Information System

Date: 06 Nov 2006

Title: Presidents Mbeki and Jintao in bilateral talks

President Thabo Mbeki is to hold bilateral political, economic and trade discussions with his Chinese counterpart, President Hu Jintao in Beijing today.

"The bilateral discussions between President Mbeki and President Hu Jiantao take place within the context of efforts to strengthen and consolidate bilateral, political economic trade and cultural links between the two countries," the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

Mr Mbeki is currently in China leading a South African delegation to the China-Africa Co-operation Forum (FOCAC) Summit of Heads of State and Government.

He is supported by Foreign Affairs Minister Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma and Trade and Industry Minister Mandisi Mphalwa, the department said.

President Mbeki's meeting with President Hu Jintao follows last week's meeting between Minister Dlamini Zuma and her Chinese counterpart, Li Zhaoxing.

Issues on the agenda of discussions between Presidents Mbeki and Hu Jintao are expected to include a review of bilateral political and economic relations between the countries; review of outcomes of the China-Africa Forum; South Africa's election to the United Nations Security Council; North Korea's decision to rejoin the six party talks and peacekeeping and conflict resolution in Africa.

"President Mbeki will also later in the day receive courtesy calls from Prime Minister Wen Jiabao and Wu Banguo, Chairperson of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress in addition to interacting with South African and Chinese captains of industry," said the department.

In his address to the FOCAC summit on Sunday, President Mbeki highlighted the relationship of mutual development and support between China and the African continent.

President Mbeki, Ministers Dlamini Zuma and Mphalwa are expected to return to South Africa later in the day. - BuaNews

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