THE late Chinese President Cde Jiang Zemin helped cement relations between Zimbabwe and his country, contributing immensely to international co-operation, President Mnangagwa has said.
Yesterday, the President signed a book of condolences that was opened at the Chinese Embassy in Harare following the death of Cde Jiang, who died from leukaemia and multiple organ failure on November 30, 2022, at the age of 96.
Cde Jiang was general secretary of the ruling Chinese Communist Party from 1989 to 2002, chairman of the Central Military Commission from 1989 to 2004 and President of China from 1993 to 2003.
President Mnangagwa, who was accompanied by his deputy Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, said the former Chinese leader contributed to the excellent relations between Zimbabwe and China.
I am deeply saddened by the death of the former People’s Republic of China President, His Excellency Cde Jiang Zemin.
“In Cde Jiang Zemin, China and indeed the progressive world have lost a great statesman and accomplished international diplomat who contributed to the greater co-operation between China and the international community,” said the President.
Going down memory lane, President Mnangagwa recounted how in 1996, he interacted closely with the late Cde Jiang when he visited Zimbabwe.
“I personally have fond memories of my personal interaction with the late Cde Jiang Zemin in 1996 when he paid a State visit to Zimbabwe and I was assigned by the late President RG Mugabe to accompany him.
“The visit was indeed successful and cemented the excellent relations between the Republic of Zimbabwe and the People’s Republic of China.
“May I once again express my deepest condolences to the people of the People’s Republic of China and the family of Jiang Zemin on this loss,” said the President.
He added later on Twitter: “My thoughts are with the family of Jiang Zemin. He was an outstanding statesman and led China through an outstanding decade of growth and progress.”
Over the years, relations between Zimbabwe and China have been growing in leaps and bounds, with trade between the two countries jumping 57 percent to US$1 billion in the first six months of this year juxtaposed to last year.
In the past 42 years, following the principles of sincerity, real results, affinity and good faith and with concrete actions, China has been supporting Zimbabwe to realise its national development, overcome the negative impact of illegal sanctions and stay interacting with the global economy.
As such, trade between the two countries continues to grow. Notably, between January and September, volumes in trade went up 29,9 percent to US$1,743 billion, of which Zimbabwe exported goods worth US$943 million to China and imported products worth US$800 million, representing a trade surplus of US$143 million in favour of Zimbabwe.
A joint letter from the ruling Communist Party, Parliament, Cabinet and the military of China described Cde Jiang Zemin’s death as an “incalculable loss to our party and our military and our people of all ethnic groups”.
It described Cde Jiang as an outstanding leader of high prestige, a great Marxist, statesman, military strategist and diplomat and a long-tested communist fighter.
The former Chinese President’s coffin has since been transferred from his hometown of Shanghai for burial in Beijing today.