HARARE, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- China's leadership has pledged its unchanged support to Zimbabwe's economic and social development and will encourage more businesses to invest in the southern African country, the Chinese special envoy told re-elected Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe on Wednesday.
Li Liguo, minister of civil affairs who acts as Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy, said China's leadership attaches great importance to developing China-Zimbabwe relationship and will continue to support Zimbabwe's efforts to maintain stability and seek development.
"China will, as it did before, provide various sorts of aides for Zimbabwe's social and economic development, and encourage more and more Chinese businesses to invest in Zimbabwe, " Li said.
The special envoy said China and Zimbabwe have been helping each other on the path of development and supporting each other on issues that concern their core interests.
China has established diplomatic relations with Zimbabwe since its independence from Britain in 1980. While the political ties remain strong, the two countries have made strides in economic cooperation.
Last year, China emerged as Zimbabwe's top foreign investor and the bilateral trade hit a new high of more than 1 billion U. S. dollars.
Mugabe, for his part, thanked Chinese support along the way since Zimbabwean people's struggle for independence and said Zimbabwe has always considered China a cordial friend and that legacy will carry on.
Mugabe also invited Chinese businesses to invest more in the country's mining, agriculture, and infrastructure sectors.
The veteran leader, now 89, was re-elected Zimbabwean president on July 31 by a wide margin of support. He is set to be sworn in on Thursday.