ZIMBABWE and China continue to engage each other on modern challenges as part of solidifying the long-standing bilateral relations that exist between the two countries, President Mnangagwa said yesterday.
He said the fact that major infrastructural projects in Zimbabwe were being financed by China was a reflection of the close relations between Harare and Beijing and the leaders will continue to consolidate such relations for the good of the two countries.
President Mnangagwa said this at State House in Harare after meeting China’s senior diplomat and Politburo member of the Communist Party of China (CPC), Mr Yang Jiechi, who was in the country for a high-level visit aimed at strengthening ties.
Mr Yang, who once served as Foreign Minister, was accompanied by a high-powered delegation that included some vice ministers. He held an hour long meeting with President Mnangagwa.
Briefing journalists soon after the meeting, the President said the top diplomat’s visit was meant to deepen co-operation between the two countries.
“The Chinese delegation led by Mr Yang, who is the foreign policy guru of the People’s Republic of China, has visited a few countries; I think one in Europe and two in Africa and came to chat with us here in Zimbabwe on our relations which date back to the period of Munhumutapa, which we continue to consolidate, broaden, embrace and share the challenges of today,” said President Mnangagwa.
“I am sure you are aware that the current major projects in the country, Kariba South Hydro Power Station expansion, it was financed by the Chinese, Victoria Falls International Airport refurbishment; it is a major project and the airport can now receive any aircraft on this planet, it was financed by the Chinese, Hwange Units 7 and 8 expansion, for a billion (United States) dollars again financed by the Chinese, RG International Airport upgrade, it’s quite an important project.
“The magnificent, I do not know if you have been there, if you haven’t then you are not a good Zimbabwean, the most magnificent Parliament on the continent, just been completed now, again financed by the Chinese. Currently, the Manhize project by Tshingshan Group of Companies is constructing over a billion (US) dollar steel plant which will be the biggest plant on the continent of Africa.”
President Mnangagwa said a lot more other projects had been financed by China, which was evidence of good relations.
“I can go on and on, this speaks volumes of the solid relations between Zimbabwe and China. Some of you who have good memories, who can sleep and remember things that happened yesterday, in 2008 when the Western countries, the Americans and British and their allies wanted to invoke the United Nations Charter which (would have) allow(ed) them to invade Zimbabwe, the Chinese exercised their veto.
“This is why we are still here and remain independent, so these are solid friends of Zimbabwe.”
He said at a personal level, he was trained in China where he graduated after undergoing military training.
“That is how my relations began with the People’s Republic of China under the PLA (People’s Liberation Army). I think I am the only Honourable Member of the PLA in the region,” said President Mnangagwa.
Earlier on, Mr Yang held a meeting with Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister, Ambassador Frederick Shava, who was accompanied by three other Cabinet ministers at a city hotel where they explored ways to deepen co-operation.
In his address, Mr Yang applauded the relations between Zimbabwe and China saying they had delivered important milestones.
He said he was following up on agreements made and exploring new areas as envisaged by Chinese leader, President Xi Jinping and President Mnangagwa.
“On the basis of the important common understanding reached between President Xi Jinping and President Mnangagwa, the political impetus between our two countries has grown from strength to strength.
“Practical co-operation has delivered important progress. Our two countries have worked closely on international affairs, accommodated each other’s interests (and) together we have set a good example of South-South co-operation,” said Mr Yang.
He said China condemned the illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and would use every international platform to have them lifted.
“We applaud Zimbabwe for a firm commitment to the One China policy. We opposed the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe and we call for their removal. China has and will continue to urge the West to lift sanctions against Zimbabwe as soon as possible and this year during the Human Rights Council, we raised it,” Mr Yang said.
He applauded Zimbabwe for its support of China against some Western countries that interfere in its internal affairs.
Mr Yang said China remained grateful to Zimbabwe after it supported Beijing in the wake of attempts to politicise the origins of Covid-19 pandemic by some Western countries.
In his speech, Ambassador Shava said Zimbabwe was ready to draw lessons from the Chinese experience and the new Parliament Building built by the Chinese government would remain a jewel of the bilateral relations.
“Zimbabwe applauds the peaceful development pursued by the government of the Peoples’ Republic of China over the years, transforming it into the world’s second largest economy. Zimbabwe stands ready to draw lessons on the Chinese experience as we work towards the realisation of Vision 2030.
“We are grateful for China’s support in many projects and the Parliament Building will be the jewel of our relations,” said Ambassador Shava.
He said their relations continue to blossom despite the illegal sanctions imposed by the West.
Ambassador Shava added that the Government and people of Zimbabwe appreciate the role that China continues to play to promote economic development in Africa in general and Zimbabwe in particular.
“Regrettably these developments have been constrained by Western illegal sanctions which I am happy to say China opposes and has opposed for a long time and we want to applaud them for that,” he said.
Some of the ministers that accompanied Ambassador Shava include Transport and Infrastructural Development Minister, Felix Mhona, Local Government and Public Works Minister, July Moyo, and Energy and Power Development Minister Zhemu Soda.
Zimbabwe and China enjoy excellent bilateral relations dating back to the liberation struggle that saw Harare attaining Independence in 1980.
In 2018, relations between the two countries were elevated following President Mnangagwa’s State visit to China where several deals were clinched and the Asian giant gave the much-needed momentum to Zimbabwe’s thrust of rebuilding the economy.