BEIJING -- Zimbabwe's President Emmerson Mnangagwa held talks here Tuesday with Chinese President Xi Jinping, with the two leaders agreeing to upgrade Sino-Zimbabwean relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

President Mnangagwa, who arrived in China on Monday for a State visit, met the Chinese leader at the Great Hall of the People in the heart of Beijing following an elaborate welcoming ceremony. In his welcoming remarks, President Xi said China attached great importance to its relationship with Zimbabwe.

You are an old friend of China and I appreciate your efforts to develop relations in all areas, he said. As Zimbabwe's good friend and partner, we are very happy and appreciate this.

President Mnangagwa thanked China for standing by Zimbabwe through turbulent times. The government and people of Zimbabwe and me personally appreciate the political support and goodwill of the government of the People's Republic of China following the peaceful political transition in Zimbabwe, he said.

Zimbabwe stands committed to further strengthen the excellent historical relations between our two nations which pre dates our independence.

Chinese Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs later told the media that the two leaders held very productive talks. In the talks the two Presidents reached fruitful outcomes and a lot of agreements. The two Presidents agreed to upgrade the bilateral relationship into a comprehensive strategic partnership of co-operation," he said.

That is the new position of the bilateral relationship and I believe it will inject fresh impetus into the bilateral relationship in the future."

Zimbabwe's acting Media, Information and Broadcasting Services Minister Simon Khaya-Moyo said the State visit had re-invigorated Sino-Zimbabwean relations. It was an excellent meeting, there is no doubt that we are heading for greater heights.

Also on Tuesday, thw two sides concluded several co-operation agreements which cover various areas, as

they moved to consolidate bilateral relations. The agreements are on economic and technical co-operation,

implementation of the High Performance Computer centre phase two and for a feasibility study on a borehole drilling project.

China has also agreed to send senior agricultural experts to Zimbabwe and to provide emergency food assistance. The first batch of agreements were signed by Finance and Economic Development Minister Patraick Chinamasa and a Chinese government official.

Foreign Affairs and International Trade Minister Sibusiso Moyo also signed, on behalf of the civil service commission, a human resources development agreement. President Mnangagwa and President Xi Jinping witnessed the signing of the agreements.

Earlier, Environment, Water and Climate Minister Oppah Muchinguri Kashiri signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the construction of the Kunzvi Dam with Sino Hydro, a Chinese engineering and construction company.