Harare, January 12, 2020 (New Ziana) – Visiting Chinese Foreign Minister, Wang Yi said on Sunday the West’s two decade old sanctions slapped on Zimbabwe should be lifted as they were unjustified and constricted the country’s development.
Yi was speaking at a press conference following closed door deliberations, with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Dr Sibusiso Moyo, on various issues to consolidate bilateral ties between the two countries.
“The unilateral sanctions imposed by some countries and organisations on Zimbabwe have no basis in international law and they violate the legitimate development rights and interests of Zimbabwe,” Yi said.
“China fully supports the just aspirations of Zimbabwe and African countries to quickly remove those sanctions on Zimbabwe.”
The embargo was imposed by the United States and European Union at the turn of the millennium in opposition to the country’s land reforms.
The reforms involved compulsory takeover of excess farmland from white farmers to settle landless blacks.
The sanctions, which include a freeze in financial aid, are estimated to have cost Zimbabwe US$100 billion over the two decades.
Last year, both the African Union and the Southern African Development Community heightened calls for the lifting of the embargo on Zimbabwe.
China’s top diplomat said the Asian country supported “Zimbabwe’s efforts to independently explore a development path suited to its national conditions.”
“China side understands the current bottlenecks and difficulties faced by Zimbabwe but we trust that Zimbabwe has the wisdom and capabilities to address well these challenges,” Yi said.
He slammed the bullying of smaller nations by some nations, saying all countries were equal regardless of size.
Zimbabwe and China have enjoyed 40 years of diplomatic ties, which were last year upgraded to the highest level of cooperation, known as the “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”
“Over the past four decades the China-Zimbabwe friendship has withstood the big tests and stormy weathers and both sides have stood firmly by this friendship through mutual respect, trust and support that we have given each other,” the Chinese diplomat said.
Yi, who is due to meet with President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Monday, is on a three-day visit to Zimbabwe, as part of the annual five-nation tour by the Chinese foreign minister to Africa at the beginning of every year.
Dr Moyo said the two diplomats had discussed issues ranging from political, economic, social cultural and other cultural matters.
“The meeting has been very successful and we are looking forward to getting to greater heights between Zimbabwe and China,” he said.
He said the visit opened up opportunities for the two countries to explore new areas of cooperation, while lauding Beijing for being the biggest funder of infrastructural development projects in Zimbabwe in recent years.
Expansion of energy projects, airports and upgrading of telecommunications networks are the main areas in which Beijing has availed billions in funding for Harare.
The two countries, Dr Moyo said, had also tackled ways in which to boost trade, with Zimbabwe expected to explore supply of agricultural produce among others.