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China Denies Stopping Aid to Zimbabwe
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The Chinese Embassy in Zimbabwe on Tuesday dismissed as false media reports claiming that China has withdrawn all assistance except humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe.

A spokesperson from the Chinese Embassy said contrary to the reports, Zimbabwe and China share a long history of friendship and have cooperation agreements in various fields which include agriculture, education, health, and science and technology.

"Recently, some media published reports claiming that China was dropping all assistance except humanitarian aid to Zimbabwe. The Embassy of China in Zimbabwe wishes to clarify that this is simply not the fact," said the spokesperson.

Britain's Daily Telegraph carried the claims in its edition of Aug 31, 2007, in which it quoted Foreign Office Minister Malloch Brown as saying he had been told by China last Thursday during his visit to that country that it had stopped all aid except humanitarian to Zimbabwe.

The newspaper said the move followed a decision by China, a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council, to work more closely with the international community in bringing pressure to bear on states perceived bad by the West.

"It represents a major shift in its previous policy of refusing to attack the internal polices of long standing allies," Brown was quoted as saying.

"I was told that China's assistance to Zimbabwe is now limited to humanitarian assistance which is enormously important. That puts it in the same position as Britain, which is the second biggest provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe," Brown said on his first visit since becoming minister for Asia-Africa and the UN.

The Chinese Embassy spokesperson said China has been providing assistance in many forms including humanitarian aid, grants and loans of credit to Zimbabwe and its people.

The spokesperson added that apart from assistance promised to Zimbabwe during the visit by Chinese Communist Party top official, Jia Qinglin, in April, the two governments had also concluded negotiations for China to supply Zimbabwe with 4,000 tons of soybeans.

"During the visit by Jia Qinglin, Chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference, to Zimbabwe this April, China promised to help build two primary schools, one hospital and an Agriculture Technology Demonstration Center in Zimbabwe. In addition, China granted fund to renovate the National Sports Stadium of Zimbabwe," the spokesperson said.

China has in recent years also emerged as the biggest buyer of Zimbabwe's tobacco as trade and bilateral relations between the two countries continue to grow.

(Xinhua News Agency September 5, 2007)

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