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China Urges Zimbabwe to Expand Ties

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping listens to national anthems during a welcoming ceremony for South Africa's Vice President Kgalema Motlanthe inside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing, China, September 2011. (file photo)

Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping has called on Zimbabwe to expand economic ties.

At a meeting with Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe in Beijing Wednesday, Xi said China wants to increase cooperation with the south African nation in the areas of trade, agriculture, mining and infrastructure. He described the 87-year-old leader as an "old friend" of China.

Mugabe, in turn, described China as a "trustworthy friend." He said Zimbabwe appreciates China's long-term support for its economic and social development.

China has steadily increased its economic role in Zimbabwe at a time when other countries have been pulling out.

In March, Beijing extended a $700-million credit to Zimbabwe to support agriculture and health.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and Reuters.