Tuesday, 2 July 2019

CHINESE, MLISWA AT WAR


THE Chinese government is committed to ensuring that historical ties with Zimbabwe are mutually beneficial, Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe Mr Guo Shaochun has said.

He said China is making sure that businesses operating here do so within the confines of local laws.

“The Chinese government, in accordance with the laws and regulations, protects the legitimate rights and interests of overseas Chinese enterprises and citizens. And at the same time, the government always requires them to abide by the laws and regulations of the host countries and respect local customs,” said Ambassador Guo in a statement.

The statement was in response to Norton legislator Temba Mliswa’s suggestion that the cooperation between Harare and Beijing was not beneficial to the latter in light of its economic challenges. 

Mr Mliswa has been at war with Chinese company Sunny Yi Feng Tiles, which has a plant in his constituency.

On investment, Ambassador Guo said China was committed to investing in Zimbabwe in different facets of the country’s economy and cited the expansion of Victoria Falls International Airport, Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport, Kariba South Hydropower Station as some of the investments made by the Chinese government.

“In recent years, the Victoria Falls Airport Expansion Project, the Robert Gabriel Mugabe International Airport Expansion Project, the Kariba South Hydropower Station Expansion Project, the Hwange Power Station Expansion Project and so on, which have been or are being built with concessional loans from China, have played an important role in improving infrastructure and self-sustaining capacity for the economic and social development of Zimbabwe. The projects involve more than $2 billion,” he said. 

He added that China has extended a US$58 million to Zimbabwe to complete post cyclone re-construction and other projects.

“A few days ago, China decided to provide another new batch of grant of 400 million RMB (US$58 million) to Zimbabwe to help the country complete post-cyclone reconstruction and other important projects.

“It is not only logically absurd, but also morally untenable to simply blame that Zimbabwe’s economic difficulties can be attributed to China’s investment not being good for Zimbabwe. It is universally recognised that whether a country can get rid of poverty and achieve sustainable development mainly relies on its own efforts,” he said.

Responding to some accusation by Mliswa that during the construction of the new Parliament building, mineral extraction is the order of the day, the Ambassador said the parliament project in is financed by the grant from the Chinese Government.

“The New Parliament Project is a project financed by the grant from the Chinese government. It does not have any attached project, nor does it spend a single penny from the Zimbabwean government’s coffer.

“This project is a manifestation of the profound friendship between the two governments and the peoples of China and Zimbabwe and brooks no one’s smear or distorting,” he said. 

He added that the two countries enjoy a profound traditional friendship.

“China-Zimbabwe relations will not be affected by slander or vilifying by any individual. The Chinese embassy in Zimbabwe is firmly opposed to the move by certain individual or media to undermine the friendship and cooperation between the two countries through flinging abuses, fabricating rumours and malicious slander.

“This does no good to Zimbabwe’s own development. We sincerely hope that the Zimbabwean side will continue to create a more favourable environment for all foreign direct investment, including Chinese enterprises,” he added.

The two countries have always rendered each other strong support on issues concerning each other’s core interests.

On the tile plant Ambassador Shaochun said the Chinese embassy attaches importance to Mr Mliswa’s criticisms and proposals concerning the tiles factory and has since coordinated the two sides to solve the problem through dialogue and consultation on several occasions.

“With the facilitation of the Chinese embassy, the dialogue between the two sides is still going on and we expect it to produce positive results. If the relevant issues cannot be resolved through consultation, the two sides may settle them rationally through legal channels,” he said. Herald

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