Sunday, February 13, 2011

Zimbabwe a Key Partner, Says China

Zim a key partner, says China .

Friday, 11 February 2011 11:39
Herald Reporters

CHINESE Foreign Affairs Minister Yang Jiechi jetted into Zimbabwe yesterday and hailed Zimbabwe as an “important partner” in Southern Africa.

Minister Yang is in the country on a two-day visit and was met at the Hara-re International Airport by his Zimbabwean counterpart Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, Foreign Affairs Secretary Mr Joey Bimha, Beijing’s Ambassador here Mr Xin Shunkang and other officials from the Chinese Embassy.

In a statement soon after his arrival, Minister Yang said China and Zimbabwe had deep relations.

“Zimbabwe is an important partner country in Southern Africa. It has a beautiful landscape and rich natural resources.

“Its people are industrious and talented and it holds broad prospect for development.

“China and Zimbabwe share a deep bond of traditional friendship,” he said.

Minister Yang added that China’s relations with Zimbabwe had stood the test of time, even under changing international circumstances.

“China sets store by its relations with Zimbabwe and regards Zimba-bwe as a good friend, good brother and good partner.

“China is ready to work with Zimbabwe to further enhance political mutual trust, expand mutually beneficial co-operation and steadily elevate our friendship and co-operation,” Minister Yang said.

The Chinese Foreign Affairs chief said he looked forward to holding fruitful discussions with Minister Mumbengegwi and other Zimbabwean leaders during his visit.

“I am convinced that with concerted efforts from both sides, this visit will produce positive results and take China-Zimbabwe friendship and co-operative relations to a higher level,” he said.

Minister Yang will be in Zimbabwe until tomorrow.

During his stay, he is expected to pay a courtesy call on President Mugabe, meet Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai, hold discussions with Minister Mumbengegwi and officially open the Agricultural Technology Demonstration Centre at Gwebi College.

The centre at Gwebi was built with Chinese financial and technical assistance and is one of many investments that the economic powerhouse has made in Zimbabwe over the years.

Minister Yang is on a five-nation tour of Africa and Zimbabwe is his first port of call.

Beijing has supported Harare in the face of illegal Western sanctions imposed on the country.

In 2008, China – along with Russia and other members of the United Nations Security Council – blocked an attempt by the United States and Britain to get the world body to impose an embargo on Zimbabwe.

It has also assisted in construction of two schools in Mashonaland Central and Harare, and a hospital in Mahusekwa, Mashonaland Central.

Chinese investors intend to embark on the second phase of the renovations of the National Sports Stadium.

The Chinese government has assisted in other sectors of the local economy, including in training of agricultural experts.

They have pledged to provide funds for the construction of a new Parliament building.

Zimbabwe and China’s ties date back to centuries when the ancient empires engaged in material and cultural exchanges.

The relations solidified during the liberation struggle when China provided material and moral support to Zimbabwe’s freedom fighters.

China was the first country to establish full diplomatic ties with a newly-independent Zimbabwe when the country gained independence from Britain on April 18, 1980.

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