Mugabe thanks China for support

President Robert Mugabe yesterday thanked his Chinese allies for helping defend his rule against Western countries that he says want to topple him.

Robert Mugabe
Robert Mugabe

Speaking during a meeting with the visiting vice chairman of the standing committee of the National People's Congress of China, Zhou Tienong, hailed the strong bilateral relations between Zimbabwe and China that he said was Harare’s foremost ally and supporter in the international community.

“The imperialist countries of Britain, Europe and the US have continued to undermine our country. This is because of our resources but we are grateful to the stance China has always taken in defending our sovereignty," said Mugabe, who received crucial military and other support from Beijing during Zimbabwe’s 1970s liberation war.

Zhou, leading a four-member delegation that arrived in Harare on Monday, called for greater cooperation between Zimbabwe and China, labeling the southern African country a “trustworthy friend of China”.

"The Chinese people will stand by Zimbabwe as they did in the past," said Zhou, who also rejected external interference in Zimbabwe’s internal affairs.

China has emerged as one of Zimbabwe’s most important political allies and trading partners since 2000 when Mugabe adopted his ‘Look East’ policy

The policy is premised on the need to find new trading partners and markets after traditional investors from Western nations turned against Harare in protest over Mugabe’s human rights abuses, repression against political opponents and his violent land reform programme.

The “Look East” policy specifically targets investors from Muslim and Asian nations and in exchange Zimbabwe has promised minerals – including diamonds and gold – and prime land to the investors, resulting in Harare penning several investment and cooperation agreements mainly with China, Russia and Iran.

Meanwhile Zhou will on Friday leave Harare for South Africa and from the will visit Ghana, the last leg of his African tour.

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