China Welcomes Mugabe for Six Days of Talks; Signs Trade Pact
7-26: On Saturday the twenty-third President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe arrived in Beijing for six days of talks. During this time, Mugabe has met with President Hu Jintao and other Chinese officials. Today, the two nations signed a trade agreement, and while the details are not publically known, it is widely believed that the Zimbabwe will offer China mineral and other trading concessions in exchange for much needed economic assistance to Zimbabwe.
China’s welcoming reception of the Zimbabwean President contrasts with the United States and Europe’s strong antipathy for Mugabe and his actions as President. The United Nations recently released a report blasting Mugabe for bulldozing urban slums under the aegis of a government cleanup campaign. The campaign left 700,000 urban inhabitants without homes or jobs. Mugabe retaliated against the UN report by declaring it false and by inviting UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to Zimbabwe to view the government’s newest urban development projects. Annan has agreed to visit Zimbabwe only if Mugabe can provide humanitarian aid to those who have lost their homes due to the demolitions.
China’s relationship with Zimbabwe embodies its broader foreign policy of not interfering with countries internal affairs. Given their heightened relationship, Mugabe has said he is confident China will use its veto in the U.N. Security Council to block his regime in Zimbabwe from any U.N. censure.
| China Begins a New Campaign to Improve its Image in the US|
7-28: With rising tensions over CNOOC’s bid for Unocal and the recent release of the Pentagon report on China’s military, Americans have begun to hear more and more about a possible “China threat.” Recognizing this disturbing trend, China has launched a pro-active campaign to quell fears that China wishes to compete with the US.
To this end, the Chinese embassy has hired Patton Boggs to lobby on their behalf, according to US Department of Justice records. This is not a new trend, however. Several Chinese ministries as well as lower bodies of government have hired prominent lobbying firms for help on trade issues.
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