China has congratulated President Emmerson Mnangagwa on his inauguration as the second Executive President of Zimbabwe since independence in 1980, with President Xi Jinping sending his good wishes yesterday.

The Asian economic giant’s leader joined Russian President Vladimir Putin and South African President Jacob Zuma who have also congratulated the new Head of State and Government and Commander-in-Chief of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces.

Other incumbent and former leaders from Sadc attended the inauguration of President Mnangagwa on Friday and offered their congratulations in person.

President Xi, who leads the world’s second-largest economy after the United States, said he was confident that President Mnangagwa would “make new headway” in the country’s development endeavours.

“On the occasion of your taking office as the President of the Republic of Zimbabwe, I wish to extend to you, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, and in my own name, our sincere congratulations and best wishes,” he said in a statement.

“I am confident that under your leadership, the Government and people of Zimbabwe will continue to make new headway in its development endeavours.”

The Chinese leader said relations between Zimbabwe and China had withstood both the change of time and changes in the international situation.

“China and Zimbabwe are good friends, good partners and good brothers,” he said. “Our relations have withstood the test of time, as well as changes in international situation.

“China values its traditional friendship with Zimbabwe. I attach great importance to China relations with Zimbabwe and will work together with you to move forward our bilateral relations and cooperation in all fields to the greater benefit of our two countries and peoples. I wish you every success in fulfilling your lofty responsibilities.

“May Zimbabwe enjoy prosperity and its people happiness and well-being,” Mr Xi said.

Russian President Vladimir Putin also sent his congratulatory message last week. state media