Zimbabwe - China Relations
Confronted with these numerous challenges resulting from the sanctions, the Government of Zimbabwe adopted the LOOK EAST POLICY. China's approach, its policy of not making aid and investments conditional on performance on human rights and good governance, has won China a lot of sympathy across the continent. Zimbabwe is a case in point; the perceived meddling by western powers drove the regime of long-term President Robert Mugabe to look to the east for much needed investments. Zimbabweans not only feel that China has the greatest external influence in their country by far, but many of them also approve this: in a 2016 poll, 48 percent said this influence was positive as opposed to 31 percent who perceived it as negative. Contrary to countries like Mali, where China meets with a 92 percent approval rate, Zimbabweans are divided over whether China or the US offer the best model for development: 25 percent still feel the Americans have better solutions, but a significant 20 percent prefer the Chinese way.
Trade between China and Zimbabwe grew to $1.24 billion last year, double the figure in just four years. China has been Zimbabwe's top foreign investor for several years. In 2013, Chinese investment to Zimbabwe topped $600 million, making Zimbabwe one of the top destinations to receive Chinese investment that year.
The People's Republic of China and the Republic of Zimbabwe established diplomatic relations on April 18,1980, the Independence Day of Zimbabwe. Since then, the two countries have enjoyed stable and friendly ties.
The year 2009 saw steady growth of the friendly relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of Zimbabwe.
The two countries maintained high-level contacts and exchanges. Premier Wen Jiabao met with the Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe on 7 November, when they attended the opening ceremony of the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the FOCAC in Egypt. The two sides expressed their readiness to step up cooperation in various fields and move the bilateral relations forward. On 7 September, Premier Wen Jiabao met with Zimbabwean Deputy Prime Minister Arthur Mutambara who came to attend the Summer Davos in Dalian. Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun visited Zimbabwe on 23-25 April and he met with President Mugabe, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai and Deputy Prime Minister Mutambara. During his visit, the two sides signed the Agreement on Economic and Technical Cooperation Between the Government of the People's Republic of China and the Government of the Republic of Zimbabwe and the Exchange of Letters Concerning the Providing of US$5 million Cash Grant by the Chinese Government to the Government of Zimbabwe.
In 2009, Shi Jun, Vice Governor of Gansu Province, Lu Wei, Deputy President of Xinhua News Agency, Gao Guangbin, member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Jilin Provincial Committee and Secretary of the Changchun Municipal CPC Committee visited Zimbabwe respectively. Officials who visited China include: Emmerson Mnangagwa, Politburo Secretary for Legal Affairs of the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front, Gideon Gono, Governor of the Reserve Bank of Zimbabwe and Chairperson of National Women's Assembly of the Movement for Democratic Change-Tsvangirai, and Theresa Makone, Minister of Public Works. In addition, several other Zimbabwean ministers came to China to attend international conferences.
Economic and trade cooperation grew steadily. Construction of the Chinese assistance projects outlined in the outcomes of the FOCAC Beijing Summit such as the demonstration center of agricultural technology, rural schools and hospitals was started, and good progress was made.
People-to-people exchanges were active and achieved positive results. The Gansu Art Troup attended the Harare International Festival of the Arts in April. In November, the China Association for NGO Cooperation coordinated a visit by the China Family Planning Association, the Beijing Municipal Association for NGO Cooperation and Beijing Charity Association, who organized an AIDS awareness campaign in Zimbabwe together with two local NGOs, namely, the New Hope Foundation and Medical Volunteer Association. The campaign was well received by the local people.
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