China has accused Western powers of waging a “cold war” against Zimbabwe.
China Foreign Minister, Wang Yi, likened the sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by the United States and European Union (EU) to “cold war.”
Yi, who was in the economically sprawling Southern African country, as part of his five-nation tour of Africa, called for the end of the sanctions during a meeting with President Emmerson Mnangagwa.
Zimbabwe has been under US and EU sanctions dating back to the reign of the late president Robert Mugabe, who was toppled in a coup in November 2017 after 37 years in power.
The EU sanctions consist of an arms embargo and targeted asset freezes and travel bans, while the US has imposed financial restrictions and travel sanctions against selected individuals and entities.
Last year, thousands of Zimbabweans rallied in support of President Mnangagwa‘s call on the United States and the European Union to lift sanctions imposed against him and dozens of other officials.
The sanctions are believed to be the cause of Zimbabwe’s economic slump for the past two decades.
In a speech denouncing the sanctions last year, Mnangagwa bemoaned how they crippled Zimbabwe’s development.
“The continued judgment setting of Utopian standards for Zimbabwe are callous, vindictive and should not be allowed to continue. We say enough is enough,” he said.
During his meeting with Mnangagwa, the Chinese Foreign Minister pledged the Asian giant’s support in fighting the debilitating sanctions and restore Zimbabwe to the path of economic prosperity.
In a statement Monday, the Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe said: “First, China-Zimbabwe friendship is unbreakable. This year marks the 40th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between China and Zimbabwe. Over the past 40 years, Sino-Zimbabwe friendship has withstood the test of strong winds and waves and has always been unswerving.
“Among others, the most fundamental experience is mutual respect, mutual trust, and mutual support. China supports the efforts of the Zimbabwe people to safeguard its national sovereignty and national dignity, and supports its independent choice of a path to development in line with its national conditions.”
“We also appreciate the fact that Zimbabwe has made its relations with China a diplomatic priority, and we thank Zimbabwe for its valuable support in relation to China’s core interests. We are willing to be good friends, good partners and good brothers with Zimbabwe forever,” the statement added.
President Mnangagwa expressed happiness about Yi’s visit, The Herald reports.
It quoted Mnangagwa saying: “He is very happy that we had the occasion to go over our relations between China and Zimbabwe on all issues and he goes back home satisfied that our relations are on a solid foundation.
“What remains is further consolidation and deepening those relations. We scaled up relations in September 2019 from the all-weather friendship between the two countries to a strategic comprehensive partnership. We, as Zimbabwe, are happy with our relations with China,”
In a tweet, the deputy information minister, Energy Mutodi, said Yi’s visit was a “slap in the face” for the UK, EU, and US.
Zimbabwe would give preference to “Chinese business interests ahead of any Western country”, he added.
China is building a new parliament for Zimbabwe at a cost of more than $150m and has loaned Zimbabwe more than $1bn to rehabilitate its Hwange coal power plant, according to the BBC.
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