HARARE, Feb 10 — Visiting Chinese State Councillor Yang Jiechi has lauded the existing political and socio-economic relations between his country and Zimbabwe but says more must be done to deepen bilateral co-operation.

Yang, who arrived in Zimbabwe on Sunday and leaves on Tuesday, is here to follow up on progress in the implementation of agreements made last year when President Robert Mugabe led a high-profile delegation to China.

The State Councillor, who met President Mugabe and Vice-President Phelekezela Mphoko, told journalists after the meetings at State House here Monday that his visit had been a very successful one.

“This afternoon I met with the President (Mugabe). We agreed that much progress has already been made in implementing the consensus,” he said. “We believe that in this day and age, China and Zimbabwe should further deepen their political relations and should expand their co-operation in various areas.”

China committed to support Zimbabwe’s economic development efforts through financing development of infrastructure and also extended funding to various state entities to enhance their operations.

Yang said there was “a very good connection between China’s development strategy and that of Zimbabwe,” adding there was room for further co-operation in areas such as agriculture, infrastructure development, tourism and human resources development.

“We also believe that we should further enhance our culture inflow to make sure that our two peoples know each other even better,” he said.

Expressing great admiration for President Mugabe’s visionary leadership, Yang said China supported Zimbabwe’s efforts towards safeguarding its sovereignty and dignity. “In the international arena, there is a lot that we can do together,” he said.

Known in official circles as the “all weather friend,” relations with China have greatly improved since Zimbabwe adopted its Look East policy more than a decade ago.

Turning to the African Union (AU), which is currently chaired by President Mugabe, Yang said China was a supporter of the African vision and would do its best in support of Agenda 2063 which was adopted by the continental body last year.

“We pay high attention to Agenda 2063, we think it’s a very ambitious programme but it will materialize given the resourcefulness of the African people, given the strategic vision of African leaders and given the many friends that Africa has in the world,” the envoy said.

“China will continue with its mutually beneficial relationships with the AU.”

He said the Forum on China Africa Cooperation (Focac), set up to bolster relations between the two sides, would meet at the end of this year in South Africa at Ministerial level to explore ways of further enhancing co-operation.

Yang described the relationship between Africa and China as “win-win.”