ZIMBABWE and China yesterday signed four multi-million-dollar deals that will see the emerging super-power funding various projects here.The agreements were signed at Munhumutapa Government Building following a visit by Chinese Vice Premier Hui Liangyu. VP Hui is leading a delegation currently in the country. He also met Acting President John Nkomo at his Munhumutapa Offices.
Said Acting President Nkomo: “Our relationship can be likened to a very long bridge from Beijing to Harare. A firm and strong bridge that can sustain our relationship.” The first deal was on economic and technical co-operation where Beijing will provide a grant of 80 million yuan to Harare.
Finance Minister Tendai Biti signed the deal on behalf of the Government while China was represented by its Vice Minister of Commerce Mr Chong Quan. Minister Biti also signed another agreement worth 1, 025 billion yuan on behalf of Zimbabwe for the upgrading of the Victoria Falls Airport.
The third agreement was an exchange of notes between the two countries that would see China providing a grant of 31, 5 million yuan. The money will be used for the provision of an 8 Channel HD Outside Broadcasting Van to the Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation.
Media, Information and Publicity Minister Webster Shamu signed the deal on behalf of Zimbabwe while Mr Quan stood in for the Chinese government. The two countries also signed another agreement on the provision of a batch of neonatal and neonatal resuscitation mannequins worth 4,5 million yuan.
Health and Child Welfare Minister Dr Henry Madzorera signed the agreement for Zimbabwe with Mr Quan representing China. Vice President Joice Mujuru said Harare valued the support it received from China.
She said China had defended Zimbabwe on the international fora when other world powers wanted the country slapped with United Nations sanctions. “Zimbabwe-China friendship has been growing from the days of the liberation struggle to the present.
“Your support on the international front has been highly appreciated by the people of Zimbabwe especially when you vetoed a decision to put Zimbabwe under United Nations sanctions.
“The co-operation between Zimbabwe and China has been seen in the construction of the Victoria Falls Airport and runway that we are going to use next year when we host the United Nations World Tourism Organisation General Assembly and the Agricultural Demonstration Centre launched today,” she said.
VP Mujuru said trade between the two countries had been growing over the past years with figures growing every year. She said Zimbabwe supported the one China policy and expected the people of China to work together for economic prosperity. She hailed China’s stance on conflict resolution in Africa. She said China had maintained a strong policy that conflict in any African country should be solved without external interference.
The Chinese Vice Premier said Zimbabwe and China enjoyed cordial relations dating back to the former’s liberation struggle.
“Our countries have enjoyed deep traditional friendship dating back from the 1970s to the present. Our country has provided support to Zimbabwe’s liberation struggle. We have treated each other as equal friends since we established diplomatic relations,” he said.
He said Zimbabwe and China had worked together in mining, infrastructural development and agricultural training. Mr Hui also met Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai who described China as an all-weather friend. He said the inclusive Government had brought economic stability following a decade of political instability.
PM Tsvangirai said the inclusive Government had laid the foundation for elections which he said will be held either this year or next year. The Chinese delegation, which was accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi, also visited Sam Levy’s village.