Robert Gabriel Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, visited China twice before the African country's independence in 1980. He advocated Chairman Mao Zedong's ideology, but didn't meet him during the two visits.
From 1980 to 2011, he officially visited China nine times. He also met late leader Deng Xiaoping on three occasions.
In 2013 when Mugabe was elected president of Zimbabwe for the sixth time, he said he was committed to the further development of China and Zimbabwe's cooperative relationship.
He said he hoped that Zimbabwe will strengthen trade ties with China in agriculture, mineral industry and infrastructure.
"In the past, China has always been firmly supportive of Zimbabwe, and we consider China a sincere friend," he said.
In recent years, economic cooperation between China and Zimbabwe has developed rapidly. The value of trade between the two countries reached 1 billion yuan ($160 million) for the first time last year. China is currently the largest investor in Zimbabwe.