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Chinese envoy says Xi’s visit to raise China-Zimbabwe relations to new high

Chinese envoy says Xi’s visit to raise China-Zimbabwe relations to new high

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Published: 28 November 2015

ZIMBABWE – HARARE – Nov. 27 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping attached importance to the relations with Zimbabwe, hence he made it one of the two African countries he is visiting this year, and the visit is expected to raise the China-Zimbabwe all-weather friendship to a new high, China’s ambassador to Zimbabwe Huang Ping said Friday.

President Xi will pay a state visit to Zimbabwe Dec. 1 – 2 on his way to South Africa for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation summit, making it the fourth African country he has visited since assuming office.

“This demonstrates the importance he attaches to this country,” Huang told local reporters in a group interview.

“Actually, when our two Heads of State met in Beijing in August last year and in Jakarta in April this year, President Xi spoke very highly of the traditional friendship between China and Zimbabwe and our current bilateral relations,” he said.

Xi will hold bilateral talks with Mugabe and exchange views on international and regional issues to strengthen the unity and coordination among developing countries.

Huang hinted that Xi would also announce more assistance to Zimbabwe during the visit.

“China also thinks it necessary to lend a helping hand to our Zimbabwean brothers in time of need. So during this visit, China will continue to provide support and aid to Zimbabwe. Let’s patiently wait for the good news,” he said.

The two leaders will also witness the signing of new agreements by officials from the two countries.

“Through this visit, the Chinese side hopes to deepen our traditional friendship and political mutual trust, and put forward the blueprint for the future development of our relations,” he said.

The visit would promote exchange and cooperation in agriculture, manufacturing, financing, education, culture, tourism and justice, bringing more tangible benefits to the two peoples, he added.

Huang said China was committed to implementing all the deals that had been signed, while memoranda of understanding (MOUs) would transform into concrete agreements which would be implemented.

The two countries signed deals on energy, roads, rail network, telecommunications, agriculture and tourism during Mugabe’s state visit to China in August 2014.

“A lot of work needs to be done before the MOUs turned into agreements, such as feasibility studies and negotiations on the terms of cooperation. I am glad to see that many projects are progressing well and we can expect that new mega deals will come out from the MOUs in the near future, during or after the State Visit of President Xi Jinping,” he said.

He said China always did what it could to ensure that the agreements followed through.

“Agreements between China and Zimbabwe witnessed by the two presidents during President Mugabe’s State Visit to China in August last year, such as the NetOne network expansion Phase II project, the mutual exemption of visas for diplomatic and service passports, and provision of emergency food donation to the Zimbabwean side, have all been successfully implemented,” he said.

Huang said China had provided the biggest chunk of FDI into Zimbabwe and there was room for more Chinese investors to come in.

“China is now the largest source of investment in Zimbabwe. According to the statistics from the Chinese side, in 2013, Chinese investment in Zimbabwe is 602 million U.S. dollars.

He said the overall Chinese investment in Zimbabwe may not be as much as in some other African countries, but this also meant that there was potential for more investment cooperation.

He said at present, China and Zimbabwe were both at an important stage of national construction and the bilateral friendly cooperation was ushering in new opportunities.

“The Chinese side is ready to work together with Zimbabwe to push forward the comprehensive and in-depth development of the bilateral relations to further benefit the peoples of both countries,” he said.

On the international fight against terrorism, Huang said China was also a victim of terrorism which had claimed the lives of three Chinese nationals in Mali recently.

“China firmly opposes all forms of terrorism and resolutely cracks down on any violent and terrorist crime that challenges the bottom line of human civilization. To achieve this goal, China is willing to cooperate and coordinate with the international community,” Huang said.