Zimbabwe says its military wants to establish a so-called "strategic partnership" with China.

Tuesday's edition of the state-run newspaper The Herald quotes the Zimbabwe Defense Forces commander as saying his forces have benefited greatly from Chinese military aid and training exchange programs.

The paper said the general made the comment at a dinner held in Harare Friday in honor of a visiting delegation from the Chinese army.

The Herald said Zimbabwe's military wants to develop a new type of strategic partnership with China that would feature political equality, economic cooperation, and exchanges of culture and technology.

China has become an increasingly important ally to Zimbabwe as the government of President Robert Mugabe battles international isolation.

Critics of the Mugabe government blame it for the country's economic crisis, which has seen agricultural production plunge and inflation soar to more than 700 percent per year.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.