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Zimbabwe's Mugabe meets visiting Chinese state councilor

Updated: 2015-02-10 11:19

HARARE - Zimbabwean President and the newly elected Chair of African Union (AU) Robert Mugabe on Monday met with visiting Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi in Zimbabwe's capital Harare, pledging to push forward China-Zimbabwe and China-Africa relations.

Yang congratulated Mugabe on his elevation to the post and called on the Zimbabwean side to contribute to the enhancement of China-Africa relations and of the unity and strength of the African continent.

Mugabe said China is Africa's all-weather friend and Zimbabwe is committed to playing an active part in developing stronger ties between China and Africa.

Yang, China's foreign minister between 2007 and 2013, also handed over a birthday congratulation letter personally written by Chinese President Xi Jinping to Mugabe, who turns 91 on Feb 21.

Mugabe, the founding father of Zimbabwe and the oldest head of state in Africa, took over the rotating chairmanship of the AU last month.

Turning to bilateral relations, Yang said China and Zimbabwe have a deep traditional friendship and vowed to further strengthen the China-Zimbabwe ties into a model of mutual trust, mutual support, win-win, and co-development.

Mugabe told Yang that the Zimbabwean government and people are grateful for China's assistance to Zimbabwe's economic and social development, adding that Zimbabwe is willing to expand its mutually-beneficiary cooperation with China in all-around ways.

Zimbabwe is one of the largest recipients of Chinese aid in Africa, according to official statistics.

In the past three years, China's official assistance to Zimbabwe, which includes grant and interest-free loans, has amounted to over $100 million.

Chinese investments in Zimbabwe covered a wide range of fields from agriculture, mining, infrastructure to manufacturing.

Yang arrived in Zimbabwe late Sunday, the second leg of his three-nation African visit which will also take him to Uganda on Tuesday.

During his brief stay in Zimbabwe, Yang also met with Zimbabwe's Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko.

Yang told Mphoko that China and Zimbabwe face key opportunities to expand bilateral cooperation and the future is bright. The two sides should retain the tradition of frequent high-level visits, strong political mutual trust, exchange of governance experiences while proactively promoting cooperation in agriculture, mining, manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, finance and human resources, he said.

Yang said he hoped Zimbabwe will create good investment environment for Chinese businesses, expand cultural exchanges with China, boost bilateral tourism cooperation, and coordinate more closely with each other in dealing with regional and international affairs for the benefits of the bulk of developing countries.

Mphoko said Zimbabwe would like to learn from Chinese development experiences like setting up special economic zones and industrial zones. He said Zimbabwe welcomes more Chinese businesses to help Zimbabwe develop its industries and boost value addition for Zimbabwean goods.

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