Chinese envoy to Zimbabwe launches celebrations to mark 30 years of diplomatic relations

21:45, January 21, 2010      

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The Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe, Xin Shunkang, on Thursday launched preparations for the 30th anniversary celebrations of China-Zimbabwe diplomatic relations.

The celebrations, which coincide with Zimbabwe's 30th anniversary of its independence, may also see the Chinese national football team play against the Zimbabwe Warriors in a friendly match, even though no dates had been set.

Xin outlined activities to be done during the year, including the full implementation of the new eight-point plan enunciated by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao at the 4th Ministerial Conference of the Forum for China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Egypt last year.

The eight-point plan, which succeeds the old one announced by Chinese President Hu Jintao at the 2006 Beijing FOCAC summit, focuses on climate change and sustainable development, trade, infrastructure, education, science and technology, agricultural technology, debt cancellation for highly-indebted poor countries, human resources development and health services support.

Chinese embassy officials have since met with senior Zimbabwe government officials, the academia and business leaders to review the plan and the parties agreed to establish a think-tank to facilitate the implementation of partnership programs.

The think-tank, to include academics and members of the business community, will advise the Chinese embassy on the effective implementation of projects in line with the country's needs.

"For instance, our two countries just signed two agreements on the provision of a 315-million RMB Yuan (46 million U.S. dollars) concessional loan and the 50 million RMB Yuan (7.35 million U.S. dollars) grant respectively to support (mobile phone service provider) NetOne expand its network coverage and implement the projects to be agreed upon through consultations between the two governments," Xin said at his first Press conference since he arrived in Zimbabwe five months ago.

He added that the construction of two solar power projects, the further support for Chinese financial institutions in setting up a special fund for small and medium scale Zimbabwean businesses and the provision of an agricultural technology team would be done within the framework of the celebrations.

"Most importantly, the 5th Joint Commission between China and Zimbabwe is set to be held in May 2010 to further stimulate bilateral investment," he added.

China was also planning to issue the Commemorative Cover to mark the 30-year-long bilateral relations, invite one top Chinese arts troupe to attend this year's edition of the Harare International Festival of the Arts and hold a film festival, during which at least four Chinese films will be shown in Harare and Bulawayo.

Relations between China and Zimbabwe date back to the pre- independence era, with China providing military assistance to Zimbabwean liberation fighters.

During the last three years, China provided approximately 300 million U.S. dollars to the Zimbabwean government in aid.

Source: Xinhua
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