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In a show of Beijing’s dedication to the undertaking, Xi, along with his wife Peng Liyuan, squeezed a tour of a local wildlife sanctuary into their tight schedule just before wrapping up his first sta+te visit to Zimbabwe.
China attaches great importance to wildlife protection and has made remarkable progress in wildlife habitat conservation and breeding, Xi said at Wild Is Life, which shelters injured, rescued or orphaned animals.
Beijing has been cracking down on illegal trade of wild animals and animal products, including ivory, and has scored remarked progress, he said, adding that China has also been enhancing public awareness and has witnessed an increasing number of people and organizations joining the cause.
“China has earnestly fulfilled the international obligations and actively participated in international cooperation in wildlife protection,” Xi said.
Pointing out that wildlife protection is one of the key areas in China-Zimbabwe cooperation, he said China will continue to help Zimbabwe improve its capability in this regard by donating equipment and conducting exchanges of experience.
Over recent years, China has intensified efforts in wildlife protection, including a harsh clampdown against illegal wildlife trafficking. In October, Chinese authorities announced a one-year ban on imports of African ivory acquired as hunting trophies.
The ban followed a similar measure enacted in February against imports of African ivory carvings acquired after the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) took effect in 1975. In May, China publicly destroyed 662 kg of confiscated ivory.
During Xi’s landmark state visit to the United States in September, the two countries committed themselves to nearly complete bans on ivory import and export, including significant restrictions on ivory hunting trophies, and regulations aimed at halting domestic commercial trade of ivory.
Xi arrived in Harare Tuesday for the first state visit to the wildlife-rich African country by a Chinese president since 1996. During his talks with his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, the two sides charted the course for the future development of bilateral ties and pledged to translate their time-honored friendship into fresh impetus for win-win cooperation and common development.
The two presidents also witnessed the signing of a series of cooperation deals, including one on wildlife protection.
Zimbabwe is the second leg of Xi’s ongoing three-nation tour, which has taken him to the opening ceremony of a highly anticipated UN climate change conference in Paris. He will also pay a state visit to South Africa and attend a summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Johannesburg.