goes begging in China
Mugabe, whose government is blamed by critics for a crippling economic crisis, would meet Chinese President Hu Jintao, number two in the Communist hierarchy Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao, the official Xinhua news agency said.
It did not say what would be discussed.
Meanwhile, Iran has provided Zimbabwe with a loan of US$25 million to boost bilateral trade between the two countries, the weekly Sunday Mail newspaper reported.
Xinhua said Mugabe left for China's northeastern province of Jilin on Sunday, where he will visit the headquarters of First Automotive Works Group, the country's top vehicle maker. He will meet Chinese leaders on his return to Beijing on Monday, it said.
Mugabe, who arrived in Beijing on Saturday, is accompanied by his central bank head and senior government ministers, according to Zimbabwe state media.
The visit comes days after Mugabe's spokesman said the government was exploring alternative lines of credit with countries such as China and Malaysia as it grapples with Zimbabwe's worst economic crisis in decades.
Unemployment is above 70 percent, inflation is in triple digits and there are acute shortages of foreign currency, food and fuel.
South African newspapers have reported that Zimbabwe -- saddled with around $4.5 billion in foreign debt -- was seeking a $1 billion loan from its neighbour.
Mugabe's spokesman George Charamba told Reuters on Friday Zimbabwe had also approached India, China and Iran for financial help with infrastructure and energy projects.
On the day Mugabe left Harare, the United Nations released a damning report on his government's controversial demolitions of urban slums, which the global body said had left some 700,000 people without homes or livelihoods and affected another 2.4 million.
Mugabe, in power since independence from Britain in 1980, denies critics' accusations his government's policies, including the forcible redistribution of white-owned commercial farms to blacks, have destroyed a once-booming economy.
He says former colonial power Britain has led domestic and foreign opponents of his land reforms in sabotaging Zimbabwe's economy, which has contracted by more than 30 percent since 1999.
In Harare, Iranian Ambassador to Zimbabwe Hamid Moayyer was quoted as saying that "the Republic of Iran continues to work with the Zimbabwean government to avail more lines of credit which are crucial for business growth."
"In 1999, trade figures stood at 13 million US dollars and this has since risen to 25 million US dollars presently and we envisage that this will soar to about 1.5 billion US dollars by 2010," the Iranian ambassador said.
Most projects in
Zimbabwe funded by Iran have gone to the Industrial Development Corporation,
which this month sealed investment agreements that will result in the
commissioning of a tractor-manufacturing plant.
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