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Zimbabwe hails medical donation by Chinese army

By Tonderayi Mukeredzi in Harare, Zimbabwe | chinadaily.com.cn | Updated: 2020-06-08 16:43

The Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) has hailed the donation of 62,000 masks, 19,000 pieces of personal protective equipment and other critical medical supplies from China’s Ministry of National Defense as a shot in the arm in the fight against COVID-19.

Oppah Muchinguri, Zimbabwe's minister for defense and war veterans, who received the equipment Thursday on behalf of the ZDF, said the epidemic prevention equipment would help protect ZDF troops working during the lockdown to maintain law and order and enforce regulations.

"Our troops are exposed to the coronavirus, as they are part of frontline workers involved in the fight against the disease. We therefore appreciate this donation, which will go a long way to effectively equip our ZDF to win the battle against COVID-19," she said.

Guo Shaochun, the Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, said China and Zimbabwe enjoyed a comprehensive strategic partnership of cooperation anchored on multiple pillars, and military-to-military cooperation is one of the most important.

"The traditional friendship between the Chinese People's Liberation Army and the Zimbabwe Defense Forces was fostered by the founding fathers of the two countries in the 1960s and has been continuously strengthened in the decades that followed," he said. "The two militaries have maintained robust relations between their leaders and continuously strengthen cooperation and mutual support in training, medical services and military education."

The donation is the first from the Chinese military this year. The Chinese People's Liberation Army has in the past made cash and military equipment donations to the ZDF, underlining the solid relationship that exists between the two armies.

The mutual support between the two militaries forms part of the larger picture of China-Zimbabwe solidarity, which has a long history. Altogether, the Chinese military has donated PPE to 20 countries.

China has stood by Zimbabwe in the fight against COVID-19, donating over 432,000 masks, more than 21,000 testing kits and over 75,000 pieces of protective gear. China has also sent medical experts to Zimbabwe and other African states to fight the coronavirus.

Godfrey Chisoni, an expert on Sino-Zimbabwe relations at the University of Zimbabwe, said the donations mirrored a solid relationship between the two countries.

“Zimbabwe is a key member of Sino-Africa relations, and China is always there to help Zimbabwe when she faces difficulties.”

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