Zimbabwe's long time ally, China has reportedly told Britain that it is dropping all assistance to the southern African nation, except humanitarian aid.
Reports quoted British Foreign Office Minister Malloch Brown Friday, describing the decision as "enormously important," adding that it now puts China "in the same position as Britain, which is the second biggest provider of humanitarian assistance to Zimbabwe."
Malloch, in China on his first official visit there as Britain's minister for Asia, Africa and the United Nations, said he received this news from China's new special envoy on African issues, Liu Guijin.
For many observers, China's decision represents a significant shift, as it has supported Zimbabwe both diplomatically and financially through heavy investment, over the years. Last November, on the sidelines of the China-Africa Summit, President Hu Jintao described his country's relationship with Zimbabwe as "unshakeable."
Reported reasons for its new position on Zimbabwe is that China has pledged to work closely with the international community to put more pressure on “rogue regimes.”
But political analyst Brian Kagoro told reporter Ndimyake Mwakalyelye, that he doubts China's position is permanent or that it has abandoned its policy of non interference.
More reports from VOA's Studio 7 for Zimbabwe...