Chinese foreign minister eyes business deals in Zimbabwe
By Special Correspondent
Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi was due in Zimbabwe on Thursday, part of China’s ongoing strategy to secure a steady supply of raw materials from Africa. During his two-day visit, Yang was expected to meet President Robert Mugabe, with whom China enjoys historical ties, but may also hold talks with leading members of Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Beijing is one of Zimbabwe’s few international allies. In 2008, it vetoed a UN Security Council resolution seeking sanctions against Harare over its poor human rights record. In a timely reminder of the deep rift that exists between Mugabe and the West, the US embassy in Harare issued a statement ahead of Yang’s visit expressing alarm at the latest wave of violence in Zimbabwe, for which it blamed supporters of Mugabe’s Zanu-PF party. “The United States is alarmed by, and condemns, the recent spate of political violence perpetrated by youths and opportunists affiliated with elements of ZANU-PF,” the statement said. “Such unlawful actions violate the Global Political Agreement and demonstrate that the undermining of the rule of law has not changed fundamentally.” China, for its part, is eager to obtain Zimbabwean platinum and diamonds and is eyeing deals worth billions of dollars. Last month, Zimbabwe’s investment promotion minister, Tapiwa Mashakada, said the China Development Bank planned to fund investments worth 10 billion dollars in the country’s mining, agriculture and infrastructure sectors. Chinese companies have made inroads in Zimbabwe especially in construction industry.