Zimbabwe’s ruling Zanu-PF party has attacked Washington for what it calls an “aggressive conduct” in Taiwan after U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her delegation visited Taipei, defying unspecified military action from Beijing.
During the visit, China conducted military drills near the Island. However, VOA reported earlier that Pelosi speaking in Taiwan said she and the congressional delegation that accompanied her went to Taiwan with a specific purpose. “One is security, security for our people, global security. Two is economics, to spread as much prosperity as possible. And three is governance.”
In a press statement Wednesday, Zanu-PF spokesman and former Ambassador to China, Chris Mutsvangwa, said, “Zimbabwe stands fully behind the People’s Republic of China in the face of the intrusive, imprudent and provocative visit by Nancy Pelosi, the Speaker of the Congress of the United States Government.”
Mutsvangwa further said, “It is cardinal postulate of international diplomacy that there is One China and Taiwan is an integral part of mainland China. The One China principle is also the basis upon which the Beijing-Washington interactions rests.”
He accused Washington of trying to cause friction noting that “efforts, conduct and behavior that offends the One China principle will Inevitably lead to tension and may cause conflict between the two leading economies in the world. The visit by Pelosi risks igniting military conflict by forcing Beijing to assert its rightful rights and authority over Taipei.”
Mutsvangwa accused Washington of brewing needless tension through “stoking and fanning separatist tendencies on the island of Taiwan.”
In his reaction, Wurayayi Zembe, president of Zimbabwe’s opposition Democratic Party, said Zanu-PF must not conflate party and state, adding that the views expressed by the party do not represent Zimbabweans as there has been no referendum on the issue.
“Zanu-PF’s spokesperson Chris Mutsvagwa’s statement on America-China relations with regards to the visit to Taiwan by the speaker of the U S Congress Nancy Pelosi should clearly state that it is Zanu PF political party’s views. I see that the statement also says that ‘Zimbabwe is’, ‘Zimbabwe is’, like it is a Zimbabwean issue. I disagree with the inclusion of Zimbabwe in that statement because Zanu PF is a partisan entity in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe is a national entity, and it is not in Zanu- PF partisan political party.”
Efforts to get a comment from Zimbabwe’s foreign minister Frederick Shava or his deputy David Musabayana were futile as they had not responded to questions sent by VOA seeking clarification on whether the views in the ruling party statement represents that of the government.
The United States embassy in Harare declined to comment. But in a briefing with reporters, White House National Security Council spokesman, John Kirby, said Washington remains committed to the One China Policy and also maintains informal relations with Taiwan.
Kirby said, "We said we do not support Taiwan independence. And we said, as I said again yesterday, that we expect cross-strait differences to be resolved by peaceful means. And we have communicated this directly to the P.R.C. at the highest levels, including in last week's call between President Biden and President Xi.”
Harare China Relations
Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has consistently praised China as an “all-weather friend” and Beijing has just completed constructing an estimated US$200 million parliament for the southern African nation that will be donated as it was funded by a grant. China is also involved in upgrading Harare’s hydro and coal power plants.
Harare and Washington
Analysts say relations between Harare and Washington seem to be taking a turn for the worse. Recently President Mnangagwa sided with Russia after it invaded Ukraine.
Writing in the state-leaning Sunday Mail newspaper, Mnangagwa said, “Zimbabwe, itself already a victim of western unilateralism, is in the full glare of all these global headwinds. Against Nato’s provocative eastward expansion in Europe, and Russian Federation’s robust response to that threat of encirclement by Nato, a new situation has arisen which requires that we re-map the world with a view to finding our own place and securing our interests.”
In March, President Joe Biden extended by another year targeted sanctions imposed on President Mnangagwa and his inner circle.
In a statement justifying the extension, President Joe Biden said, “President Emmerson Mnangagwa has not made the necessary political and economic reforms that would warrant terminating the existing targeted sanctions program.”
Zimbabwe was one of the 15 nations that abstained when the United Nations General Assembly backed a resolution to urge Russia to withdraw from Ukraine.