China said, on Wednesday, that it respects Robert Mugabe’s decision to resign as Zimbabwe’s president, a week after the African country’s army and Mugabe’s former political allies moved to end his four decades of rule.
Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang made the remark during a news conference, adding that China’s policy toward Zimbabwe would not change.
NAN reports that on Nov. 16, China said its “friendly policy” toward Zimbabwe would not change, after the military said it had seized power and was holding Mugabe and his family safe while targeting “criminals”.
China is paying close attention to the situation in Zimbabwe and hoped for stability and a peaceful, “appropriate” resolution, foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told a daily news conference in Beijing.
China’s cooperation with Zimbabwe was “all round” and benefited both peoples, he added.
“China’s friendly policy towards Zimbabwe won’t change. We will continue to develop friendly cooperation with Zimbabwe on an equal, mutually beneficial win-win cooperation principle,” Geng said, without elaborating.
Influential state-run Chinese tabloid the Global Times said in an editorial on Thursday that Zimbabwe was unlikely to reverse its relations with China.
“Since Zimbabwe’s independence, there has been no anti-China faction in the country, and it is unlikely to appear in the future,” it said.
In contrast to his elevated status on the continent, Mugabe is reviled in the West as a despot whose disastrous handling of the economy and willingness to resort to violence to maintain power destroyed one of Africa’s most promising states.
China and Zimbabwe have a close diplomatic and economic relationship and Beijing has stood with Mugabe’s government in the face of Western economic sanctions, investing in auto, diamond, tobacco and power-station projects.
Neither of two other Chinese companies, Tianze Tobacco and diamond mining Anjin Investments, responded to requests for comment on their operations in Zimbabwe.
In August, Zimbabwe’s government said a Chinese company planned to invest up to $2 billion to revive operations at Zimbabwe Iron and Steel Company (ZISCO), which ceased production in 2008 at the height of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown.
That same year, China vetoed a proposed Western-backed UN resolution that would have imposed an arms embargo on Zimbabwe and financial and travel restrictions on Mugabe and 13 other officials, saying it would “complicate”, rather than ease, conflict. (NAN)