Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Zimbabwe yesterday on a state visit aimed at further cementing the traditional friendship between the two countries and charting the course for the future development of bilateral ties.
The trip, which comes upon the 35th anniversary of the establishment of China-Zimbabwe diplomatic relations, is Xi’s first to the African country and also the first state visit by a Chinese president to Zimbabwe since 1996.
During his stay in Harare, Xi will hold talks with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who is revered as an old friend of the Chinese people, and the two sides are expected to ink a series of cooperation deals covering such fields as infrastructure construction, investment, financing, culture and wildlife protection.
“I’m looking forward to having in-depth exchanges of views with President Mugabe on China-Zimbabwe relations as well as global and regional affairs of common concern,” Xi said in a written statement upon arrival, adding that he believes his visit will strongly push forward the two countries cooperation in various fields.
The traditional friendship forged by Mugabe and past generations of Chinese leaders is a precious wealth shared by both countries, he said, calling Zimbabwe an “all-weather friend” of China.
Over the past 35 years since they established diplomatic ties in 1980, the two countries have stood with each other rain or shine, and enjoyed fruitful cooperation in politics, economy, culture and other fields, said the Chinese president, adding that he is glad to see the agreement reached during Mugabe’s state visit to China last year has been implemented in an effective way.
China highly appreciates the important role Mugabe has played in safeguarding African unity and promoting development of the continent as the rotating chairman of the African Union, said Xi.
Calling China Zimbabwe’s “best friend” on the international stage and describing Xi’s visit as a significant event in the development of bilateral ties, Mugabe told Xinhua in a recent interview that he will confer with Xi on bilateral cooperation in multiple areas.
Harare, he said, hopes that China will help Zimbabwe carry out some key economic and public-welfare projects so as to speed up the country’s socio-economic development.
China and Zimbabwe boast a time-honored brotherly relationship that dates back to the former’s provision of substantial assistance for the latter’s struggle for national liberation and independence.
Since the two countries established diplomatic relations on the very day of Zimbabwe’s independence, bilateral ties have witnessed steady and fruitful development. China has become a major trading partner of Zimbabwe and its largest source of foreign investment. Two-way trade reached 1.24 billion U.S. dollars in 2014, marking a year-on-year increase of 12.7 per cent.
During Mugabe’s state visit to China in August 2014, the two countries agreed to be good friends, good partners and good brothers that treat each other as equals, support each other, and pursue win-win cooperation and common development.
In April this year, the two leaders held a meeting in Jakarta on the sidelines of an Asian and African leaders’ summit, and pledged to make concerted efforts to lift bilateral relations to higher levels.