China respects President Mugabe’s decision

China says it “respects Robert Mugabe’s decision to resign, and he is still a good friend of the Chinese people”.

China’s foreign ministry spokesman Lu Kang added that China’s policy toward Zimbabwe would not change.

China’s relations with Zimbabwe are deep, starting during the Rhodesian bush war.

Mr Mugabe failed in 1979 to get Soviet backing, so turned to China, which provided his guerrilla fighters with weapons and training.

Both countries formally established diplomatic relations at Zimbabwean independence in 1980 and Mr Mugabe visited Beijing as prime minister the following year.

He has been a regular visitor since.

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