Xi pledges to consolidate ties with Zimbabwe, Africa ahead of visit


Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping (R) meets with Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe in Beijing, capital of China, Nov. 16, 2011. (Xinhua/Rao Aimin)

IT remains a cornerstone of China’s foreign policy to consolidate relations with Zimbabwe and other African nations despite the constant profound and complex changes in the international landscape, said Chinese President Xi Jinping in an article published on local newspaper.

China will work with Zimbabwe and all other friendly African nations to pave a broader and more solid road of mutual benefit and common development for China and Africa, the president said in the signed piece carried by Zimbabwean leading newspaper The Herald on Saturday.

The article went public as Xi is scheduled to pay a state visit to Zimbabwe from Tuesday to Wednesday at the invitation of his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe.

The article was also carried by The Sunday Mail, a popular family newspaper on Sunday.

“I am very much looking forward to this first visit of mine to Zimbabwe,” Xi said. “Though I have not been to Zimbabwe, I am no stranger to this beautiful country and its people.”

China and Zimbabwe, in spite of the vast distance, have maintained a traditional friendship that is deep and firm, the president said, noting the Chinese people steadfastly stood behind the Zimbabwean people as comrades in arms during the national liberation struggle in Zimbabwe.

The two countries established diplomatic relations on the very day that Zimbabwe gained independence, April 18, 1980, he said, adding that the two peoples have “stood with each other rain or shine,” and enjoyed strong friendship and fruitful cooperation over the past 35 years.

China is now Zimbabwe’s fourth largest trading partner and the biggest source of investment, while bilateral friendship has taken root and sprouted in the heart of the two peoples, Xi noted.

Agreement reached during President Mugabe’s successful state visit to China in August last year has provided a vital guidance for the growth of bilateral relations, said Xi.

He stressed that he looks forward to having in-depth exchanges of views with President Mugabe and friends from all sectors of Zimbabwe during the upcoming visit, with the aim of enhancing friendship between the two countries, exploring new opportunities for cooperation in all areas and delivering more benefits to the two peoples.

Xi called on the two sides to continue to understand and support each other on issues involving their core interests and major concerns.

China firmly supports Zimbabwe’s efforts to safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests and its choice of the development path that suits its national conditions, Xi said.

The two countries also need to synergize their development strategies, translate their economic complementarities into more tangible outcomes of cooperation, carry out more exchanges on guidelines of development and take practical cooperation to a new level, according to the president.

Moreover, both sides should strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges to consolidate the public support and social basis for their friendship, he said.

The Chinese president also called on the two nations to enhance collaboration in international arena and uphold the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries, stressing that China values the important contribution to the solidarity and development of Africa that Zimbabwe has made after assuming the rotating chairmanship of the African Union.

Following his Zimbabwe visit, Xi will pay a state visit to South Africa and attend the Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Johannesburg. It will be the second summit in the 15-year history of FOCAC, and the first one on the African continent.

China adhere to the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests in conducting relations with Africa, Xi said in the article.

“I look forward to joining African leaders at the FOCAC summit and working with them to advance our friendship and cooperation, lift China-Africa solidarity to a new high and build a better future for China-Africa friendship and cooperation,” said the Chinese president.(Xinhua)

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