Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao said in Beijing Monday he sees a rosy outlook for his country's relations with South Africa and proposed the two cement cooperation in trade, investment and personnel training.
Bilateral ties have witnessed rapid development nine years after China forged diplomatic relations with South Africa, Wen said during a meeting with visiting South African President Thabo Mbeki Monday morning. The two sides have clinched strategic partnership and inked the Program of Cooperation on Deepening the Strategic Partnership.
The premier said he sees a "clear direction" and "concrete actions" for further development of China-South Africa ties.
Both developing countries at a critical stage of development, the two countries are not rivals from the economic perspective, Wen said. "We'll achieve common development as long as we complement each other with our respective advantages."
The premier expressed hope that future cooperation would focus on trade, investment and personnel training and bilateral trade and economic relations would be elevated to a new high.
"It's the established policy of the Chinese government to promote peace and development in Africa and enhance friendly cooperation with the African countries," Wen said, adding that the Chinese side will further deepen relations with the African Union, support the New Partnership for Africa's Development, and call for more concerns and extra input from the international society to care for the African countries' interest.
Mbeki said his country and China enjoy friendship between their peoples and stable relations between their governments. The two sides have maintained close high-level contacts and carried out cooperation in an active and constructive manner.
In particular, he said the agreement reached between the two sides settling textile trade issues reflected a new level of their strategic partnership.
South Africa wishes to share China's experience and strategy for future development, while widening all-round cooperation, said the president, adding that his country, just like China, is dedicated to economic and social development and improvement of its people's lives.
He echoed Wen's proposal to focus their cooperation on trade, investment and personnel training.
On behalf of South Africa and other African countries, Mbeki congratulated China on the success of the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The forum, the highest-profile gathering between Chinese and African leaders, concluded Sunday after a declaration and an action plan for 2007-2009 had been adopted.
Though a developing country itself, China has rendered sincere support to Africa, he noted, adding that with China's help, Africa will be able to better tackle the problems and challenges arising in its peace and development process.
Mbeki arrived on Friday for a state visit at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao. Hu held talks with him earlier on Monday.
China's top legislator Wu Bangguo also met Mbeki Monday morning.
Mbeki was among 41 African heads of state or government and senior officials from 48 African countries that have established diplomatic ties with China at the landmark Beijing Summit.
South Africa established diplomatic relations with China on January 1, 1998. The two countries established a strategic partnership focusing on equality, mutual benefit and common development in 2004.