Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa as they pose for the media after a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Picture: Parker Song/Reuters
Chinese President Xi Jinping shakes hands with Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa as they pose for the media after a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing. Picture: Parker Song/Reuters

China's Xi tells Zim's Mnangagwa they should write 'new chapter' in ties

By Reuters Time of article published Apr 3, 2018

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Beijing - Chinese President Xi Jinping on

Tuesday told President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe that they

should work towards a new chapter in ties, during the African

leader's first state visit to China since he seized power last

year.

Mnangagwa, who was sworn in as president in November after a

de facto military coup ended Robert Mugabe's 37-year rule, has

vowed to rebuild his country’s ravaged economy and re-engage

with the international community.

China had considered Mugabe a "good friend" in a

relationship dating back to its support for Zimbabwe's

independence war, but pointedly failed to support him when he

was ousted.

“I'm willing to work with Mr President to jointly map out

our future cooperation and write a new chapter in China-Zimbabwe

relations for the benefit of our two peoples," Xi said, during a

meeting in Beijing.

China has growing interest in investing in Africa's natural

resources and has poured more than $100 billion into roads,

railways, mines, powerlines and factories on the continent over

the last decade.

Trade between China and African countries reached $85.3

billion in the first half of 2017, according to Chinese state

media.

Xi said China has been happy to see the economic reform

policies that Mnangagwa put in place after the "peaceful,

smooth" transfer of power.

Mnangagwa said that Zimbabwe appreciated China's political

support and goodwill and thanked Xi for sending an envoy

immediately upon his inauguration.

"That was a great honour," he said.

China continued to invest in large infrastructure projects

in Zimbabwe throughout Mugabe's rule as his government,

sanctioned by Western nations for human rights abuses,

increasingly turned to Beijing for help.

With his visit, Zimbabwe would attempt to tap China's huge

financial resources, technical expertise and modern technology

in order to help revive the economy, Mnangagwa told the official

Xinhua news agency in an interview on Saturday.

In December, Zimbabwe signed a $153 million loan agreement

with China to expand and refurbish its international airport in

Harare in a bid to attract investors and tourists, the first

such deal under the new government.

China's foreign ministry said a trip to Beijing by

Zimbabwe's military chief one week before the army seized power

in the South African nation was a "normal military exchange"

amid speculation at the time he had come to brief on plans to

seize power.

Mnangagwa is likely to join other African leaders coming to

Beijing in September for a summit held once every three years. 

Reuters

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