Thursday, January 21, 2010

China-Zimbabwe Relations Set to Grow

Sino-Zim relations set to grow

Herald Reporter

BILATERAL relations between Zimbabwe and China are set to grow further this year as the two countries celebrate 30 years of co-operation.

Ties between Zimbabwe and China date back to the liberation struggle but were formalised when Zimbabwe gained Independence in 1980.

China provided Zimbabwe’s guerillas with training, logistical and material support to wage the struggle.

China has provided approximately US$300 million to Zimbabwe in direct assistance over the past three years in addition to undertaking construction projects.

Beijing has also stood solidly behind Zimbabwe during attempts by Britain and the United States to have Zimbabwe on the agenda of the United Nations Security Council.

Speaking at the launch of the 30th Anniversary Celebrations of Zimbabwe-China Diplomatic Relations in Harare yesterday, Beijing’s Ambassador here, Mr Xin Shunkang, said relations were as vigorous as ever.

"The two countries have enjoyed frequent high-level contacts, enhanced political mutual trust and ever-deepening co-operation in such fields as economic development and trade, culture, education, health and military affairs as well as close consultation and co-ordination in international and regional affairs.

"The Chinese side highly appreciates Zimbabwe’s firm commitment to the One-China Policy and its support of China’s great cause of reunification.

"The Chinese government and people value its traditional friendship with Zimbabwe; view Zimbabwe as a trustworthy friend and important partner."

Mr Xin said China would continue supporting Zimbabwe’s fight against illegal Western economic sanctions that are hurting ordinary people.

"Our government does not agree to any forms of sanctions against Zimbabwe. As long as they do not benefit the people of Zimbabwe they should be lifted."

The ambassador said 2009 was meaningful for Sino-Zimbabwe relations with the two maintaining high level exchanges to deepen practical economic, political and cultural co-operation.

"We saw thousands of Zimbabwean people visit China, from officials to businessmen, from youths to women, from Zanu-PF to MDC."

He said Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi would soon visit his Chinese counterpart Mr Yang Jiechi.

Beijing, the ambassador said, would strive to fully implement its promises to Zimbabwe and the continent at large as pledged at the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation in Egypt last year.

Zimbabwe and China recently signed two agreements on the provision of a US$46 million concessional loan and US$7.35 million for NetOne’s expansion programme.

"We also propose to build two solar power projects for Zimbabwe, support Chinese financial institutes in setting up special fund for small and medium scale Zimbabwean businesses and send one agricultural team to Zimbabwe," Mr Xin said.

He said the fifth Joint commission between China and Zimbabwe will be held in May to further stimulate bilateral investment.

To promote cultural and people-to-people exchanges, the Chinese soccer team will play Zimbabwe’s Warriors. There will also be a Chinese Film Festival among other activities.

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