China to Zimbabwe: It’s just business

Scott Tong Mar 1, 2010
HTML EMBED:
COPY

China to Zimbabwe: It’s just business

Scott Tong Mar 1, 2010
HTML EMBED:
COPY

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: Akio Toyoda continues on his whirlwind PR tour. The Toyota president is now trying to win support after mass vehicle recalls — in China.

There’s another big visitor in Beijing as well. Zimbabwe’s top foreign diplomat is there, representing President Robert Mugabe’s repressive regime. China is one of the few countries left where Zimbabwe’s delegation gets a warm welcome. From Shanghai, here’s Marketplace’s Scott Tong.


Scott Tong: Beijing buys resources like gold, diamonds and coal from Zimbabwe, and in return has pledged more than $25 billion in loans.

China scholar Bates Gill at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute says Mugabe and China go way back, to pre-Zimbabwe in the 70s.

Bates Gill: Back to the days when he was a revolutionary in Rhodesia. So these ties are sustained today through diplomatic and trade relationships.

Critics blast China, though, for selling weapons to Mugabe’s regime and protecting it from U.N. sanctions. But recent signals suggest ties are getting strained. In January, China warned Zimbabwe to pay its debts, or no more loans.

Gill: It could be that a country like Zimbabwe has proven to be something of a burr under the saddle.

Zimbabwe leaders say China’s message was clear: “We are business partners. Not friends.”

In Shanghai, I’m Scott Tong for Marketplace.

We’re here to help you navigate this changed world and economy.

Our mission at Marketplace is to raise the economic intelligence of the country. It’s a tough task, but it’s never been more important.

In the past year, we’ve seen record unemployment, stimulus bills, and reddit users influencing the stock market. Marketplace helps you understand it all, will fact-based, approachable, and unbiased reporting.

Generous support from listeners and readers is what powers our nonprofit news—and your donation today will help provide this essential service. For just $5/month, you can sustain independent journalism that keeps you and thousands of others informed.