This was said by outgoing Chinese ambassador to Zimbabwe Xin Shunkang at his farewell party in the capital on Friday. The Chinese government, Xin said, extended his term in Zimbabwe to enable him to complete various tasks including organising the trip to the Far Eastern country by Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai.
Xin said the extension of his term by 30 days allowed him to not only to organise an official visit to China by Tsvangirai but to also receive seven delegations from his country. He said the visit by Tsvangirai has strengthened the political relations between Zimbabwe and China.
China is traditionally close to Zanu PF which has strong ties with the Chinese Communist Party dating back to the days of the liberation struggle.
However Tsvangirai’s recent visit to China is being widely viewed as an attempt by the Far Eastern country to reach out to the MDC-T, the party with a strong chance to dislodge Zanu PF’s 32-year stranglehold on power.
“When I came here in 2009, the inclusive government was just established. When I am leaving this weekend (today), the Zimbabwean society is stable, the economy is on the fast development track,” he said.
There were claims that the Prime Minister was invited by the Beijing Municipality to participate at the China Beijing International Trade Fair for Trade in Services.
State media claimed that the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of China did not initiate any meetings apart from seconding the Chinese Ambassador designate to Zimbabwe and a desk officer to the delegation. It was also claimed that ministry only played a low profile and left the visit to be coordinated by the Beijing Municipality and the Ministry of Commerce.
However, on arrival in China, PM Tsvangirai was received by Assistant Minister of Commerce, Madam Qiu Hong and Foreign Ministry officials and Chinese ambassador designate to Zimbabwe, Lin Lin, signifying the importance attached to his visit.
Tsvangirai also held separate meetings with the China Railway International Co Ltd, China Dalian International Economic and Technical Cooperation Group Co Ltd, Sinohydro, the China Machinery Engineering Corporation and the China Export and Credit Insurance Corporation.
The Prime Minister also delivered a speech during the Summit of the Forum on Sino Africa Trade in Services and Investment.