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Zimbabwe military chief's China trip was normal visit, Beijing says

ZIMBABWE ARMY GENERAL CONSTANTINO CHIWENGA, COMMANDER OF THE ZIMBABWE DEFENCE FORCES ADDRESSES A MEDIA CONFERENCE HELD AT THE ZIMBABWEAN ARMY HEADQUARTERS ON NOVEMBER 13, 2017 IN HARARE. AFP PHOTO | JEKESAI NJIKIZANA
ZIMBABWE ARMY GENERAL CONSTANTINO CHIWENGA, COMMANDER OF THE ZIMBABWE DEFENCE FORCES. AFP PHOTO | JEKESAI NJIKIZANA 

A trip to Beijing last week by Zimbabwe’s military chief was a “normal military exchange”, China’s Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday, after the military in the southern African nation seized power.

Zimbabwe’s military took control targeting “criminals” around President Robert Mugabe but gave assurances on national television that the 93-year-old leader and his family were “safe and sound”.

General Constantino Chiwenga met Chinese Defence Minister Chang Wanquan in Beijing on Friday, where Chang expressed a willingness to promote relations with Zimbabwe, China’s Defence Ministry said in a short statement last week.

The ministry showed a picture of the two men, both wearing military uniform, shaking hands, and another one of officers from both countries sitting opposite each other holding a meeting at the People’s Liberation Army headquarters in Beijing.

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