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Xi's visit seen as new milestone in Sino-Zimbabwean relations

By HUANG PING ( Updated: 2015-12-01 17:11

Xi's visit seen as new milestone in Sino-Zimbabwean relations

Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (L) and  Chinese President Xi Jinping shake hands during a signing ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, Aug 25, 2014. [Photo/Agencies]

Zimbabwean President Robert Gabriel Mugabe paid a state visit to China last August. In return, President Xi will hold his very first state visit to the southern African country this December as the year of 2015 is the 35th anniversary of their establishment of a diplomatic relationship. The coming visit will be the first visit by Chinese leaders in the past 20 years, and can be a new milestone in Sino-Zimbabwean relation.

Laying in the south part of Africa, Zimbabwe is a country where birds flying in the blue sky and wild animals, such as lions, antelopes and elephants run freely on the ground. In Zimbabwe, there is the great Zimbabwean Falls, which is one of the three largest fall in the world, and the Great Zimbabwe National Monument, which witnessed the Zimbabwean history in hundreds of years. As long as you step in this country, you can feel the enthusiastic and honest of local people, and you will be moved by their friendship.

President Xi said: "Sino-Zimbabwean traditional friendship was established at the time when fighting against imperialism and colonialism side by side." During that time, China provided various help to the Zimbabwean friends for the struggle for national liberty. Soldiers of Zimbabwean African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU–PF), such as national hero Josiah MagamaTongogara and then Deputy Prime Minister Mnangagwa, have been sent to China for training since 1963. In the 1970s, Chinese military experts were sent to train ZANU-PF in the jungles in Tanzania. Meanwhile Mao Zedong Thought became popular in Zimbabwean and played an important role in the armed struggle of the country. Zimbabwean announced to established diplopic relation with China the same day of its independence on April 18 1980.

Sino-Zimbabwean relation maintained close sustaining the tests of time and fluid international situation with the efforts from both sides in the past 35 years since the diplopic ties had established. The two countries share common interest, support each other on major concerns, and gained fruitful results in the aspects of economy, education, health care and etc.

I was appointed as the ambassador of China to Zimbabwe in October this year when the two countries were celebrating 35thanniversary of diplomatic relations. I was honored to take the job and felt great responsibility as the same time. On the third day after taking the duty, I was able to present the credential to the President Mugabe, which is admired by other ambassadors who had waited for a long time to see the president themselves. Moreover, Zimbabweangovernmentarranged the meeting with two vice presidents and almost ten cabinet ministers. All these show the importance attached by Zimbabwean government to the Sino-Zimbabwean relations.

As the ancient Chinese saying goes, "Amity between people holds the key to sound relations between states". And I have been deeply moved by the friendship of the two countries. As we can see, majority of Zimbabweans believe the two countries' relations would be further enhanced. Under such circumstances, Chinese language was highly welcomed among local students, and more than 700 Zimbabweans studied Chinese in the Confucius institute of Zimbabwean University. In addition, more locals called for Chinese lessons in high schools or even primary schools. Recently the Zimbabwean University published a dictionary named Chinese-Shona Bilingual Dictionary. On one hand, more locals can greet Chinese by saying Ni Hao. On the other hand, overseas Chinese in Zimbabwe have blended in local society. For instance, Chinese enterprises and organizations holds Dream Show, an annual talent show, to provide a stage to over 3000 Zimbabwean ordinary people to show their talents. Also local Chinese Chamber of Commerce organized activities to care local orphans.

As more frequent exchanges go, more understanding did people from the two countries have, which boost the cooperation between the governments and enterprises. At present, lots of major projects in Zimbabwe were deeplyinvolved by Chinese enterprises. In the construction site of large basic facility constructions, such as the international airport in the city of Victoria Falls and Kariba South Bank Hydroelectric Power Station, engineers from both China and Zimbabwe work together and conquer problems during the construction. A win-win milestone has been built by the hard-work and friendship between China and Zimbabwe.

There is another Chinese saying goes, "Nothing has to say when making acquaintances with others,friends will come even from a thousand miles away when the meeting date comes". President Xi is paying a visit to Zimbabwean capital city of Harare, which is expected by Zimbabwean personnel from all walks of life. I believe the visit will definitely make a push to Sino-Zimbabwean relations, and open up a new aspect for bilateral cooperation.

The author is the ambassador of China to Zimbabwe

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