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In a snub to Western nations who have imposed sanctions on leaders in the country, including Mugabe himself, China said the world must respect Zimbabwe’s sovereignty.
“We believe the Zimbabwean people have wisdom and capabilities to handle their affairs very well,” Xi added.
The 90-year old Mugabe has clashed with the West over his policies and accused the US and Britain in a speech to the United Nations last year of trying to control his nation and its resources.
The US and the 28-nation EU had imposed sanctions on Zimbabwe in 2002 in protest at alleged human rights abuses under Mugabe. US authorities have said they are not considering lifting the sanction on Zimbabwe till the administration spells out reforms.
Meanwhile, Xi who met Mugabe in the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on Monday called him “an old friend of China”. China has emerged as a major investor in the southern African state and bilateral trade reached $1 billion in 2013.
Xi said the traditional friendship between the two countries was forged during the two countries’ anti-imperialism, anti-colonialism and anti-hegemony wars.
Chinese state-run news agency Xinhua quoted Xi as saying China will support Zimbabwe’s efforts to “safeguard national sovereignty, security and development interests”.
China will continue to transfer agricultural technologies to Zimbabwe, once known as the “breadbasket” of the region and help the country to increase food production and agricultural income, he said.
China will participate in Zimbabwe’s construction of economic and industrial zones, and encourage more Chinese companies to invest in the country, said Xi on Monday. Beijing has already provided Zimbabwe with $1 billion in loans.
Mugabe is on a state visit to China from August 24-28.
TBP and Agencies