President Mugabe receives his 91st birthday congratulatory message from Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi at State House in Harare yesterday. Looking on is Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko — (Picture by Justin Mutenda)

President Mugabe receives his 91st birthday congratulatory message from Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi at State House in Harare yesterday. Looking on is Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko — (Picture by Justin Mutenda)

Tendai Mugabe Senior Reporter
Significant progress has been made in the implementation of multi-million dollar deals signed between China and Zimbabwe during President Mugabe’s State visit to Beijing in August last year, Chinese State Counsellor Mr Yang Jiechi has said.

Mr Yang, whose post is equivalent to Vice Premier, is in Zimbabwe to oversee the implementation of the mega deals signed by President Mugabe and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Areas covered by the deals include infrastructure development, energy, and agriculture, among other key economic drivers.

This comes in the wake of the signing of another landmark Memorandum of Understanding between Zimbabwe and China on the implementation of the deals during a visit by members of the National Development and Reform Commission of China a few weeks ago.

Speaking to journalists after meeting President Mugabe for two hours at State House yesterday, Mr Yang said China was keen to see the dawn of a new and prosperous Zimbabwe.

He said it was important for the two countries to expand their bilateral relations beyond political ranks.

“This afternoon I just have the honour to call upon the President,” he said. “We agreed that much progress has already been made in implementing the consensus between the two sides. We believe that in this day and age, China and Zimbabwe should further deepen their political mutual trust and should extend that co-operation in various areas.

“We feel that there is a very good connection between China’s development strategy and that of Zimbabwe.

“Our mutual conclusion is that indeed a lot can be done. I am looking to a new Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe promising hope and we wish every success on your way forward.”

Mr Yang, who is also a top Chinese advisor on foreign policy, said Beijing valued the support it received from Zimbabwe politically relating to its internal politics.

In turn, Mr Yang said, China committed to support Zimbabwe and its policies on independence and sovereignty. “Politically, we value the support we have received from Zimbabwe on issues that touch upon China’s core interests and we also express our firm support for Zimbabwe’s efforts to safeguard its independence, sovereignty and dignity,” he said.

“We believe that each country has the right to choose its own path of development. Economically and culturally I see many prospects for our cooperation.”

Mr Yang said although Harare and Beijing enjoyed warm relations in the field of agriculture, especially in the production of tobacco, much can be done in the area of fertiliser production and power generation.

He said it was also important to expand ties culturally as relations between the two countries continued to blossom.

“I see really broad prospects for our cooperation on many fronts,” said Mr Yang. “In agriculture, for instance, there is good cooperation between us and I believe that many more things can be done, for instance, in terms of application of fertiliser and hydro power and also the infrastructure, human resources, training and tourism to mention just a few,” he said.

Relating to President Mugabe’s recent election as African Union chairman, Mr Yang said he hoped that Zimbabwe would play a central role in cementing relations between China and the AU.

He said a meeting of ministers on the Forum on Africa China Cooperation would be held before the end of this year in South Africa as part of the bigger scheme to enhance cooperation between China and the AU.

Mr Yang described the relationship between Africa and China as a win-win relationship.

Earlier, Mr Yang had met Vice President Phelekezela Mphoko at his Munhumutapa Offices.

Mr Yang described his meeting with the VP as productive and fruitful.

“This morning I had excellent discussion with the Honourable Vice President Mphoko,” he said. “We talked about many things and it was a very substantive and productive meeting. We also believe that we should further enlarge and enhance our culture inter-flow to make sure that our two peoples know each other better, even better.

“In the international arena there is a lot that we can do and this visit has been a very successful one.”

Mr Yang said he invited VP Mphoko to visit China at the earliest possible date.