Chinese, South African presidents stress partnership

Chinese President Hu Jintao and South African President Thabo Mbeki agreed on Monday in Beijing the two countries would work together to promote development of a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership and enhance coordination and collaboration in international affairs.

Bilateral relations have maintained all-round and rapid development since China and South Africa established diplomatic ties nine years ago, Hu said during talks with Mbeki Monday morning in the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing.

"The two sides have established strategic partnership and our cooperation has been fruitful in politics, trade and economy, science and technology, culture, education, tourism and human resources," he said, adding that the two countries have also collaborated closely in major regional and international issues.

The two presidents reached extensive consensus on enhancing their countries' long-term and stable strategic partnership on the basis of equality, mutual benefits and common development.

"It serves the fundamental interests of the two countries and peoples. It is conducive to world peace and development, too," he said.

Hu made four proposals to that effect.

"Firstly, we should enhance political trust and strategic consultation; maintain the momentum of high-level contacts; fully exploit the roles of bilateral exchange mechanism and promote all- round reciprocal cooperation," he said.

Secondly, Hu proposed the two countries to take their respective advantages and bring trade and economic cooperation to a new level. "We should encourage and support two-way investment, optimize trade structure and ensure the sound and smooth development of bilateral trade," he said.

Thirdly, China and Africa need to carry out diplomatic consultation and enhance coordination and collaboration.

"The Chinese side supports South Africa's efforts in promoting unity and cooperation among the developing countries," Hu said. " We are willing to enhance communication and exchanges with South Africa, intensify coordination and collaboration on the UN affairs and work together to maintain the legitimate rights and interests of the developing countries."

Fourthly, Hu proposed the two countries increase personnel and cultural exchanges so as to cement the social foundation for the development of China-Africa ties. "We hope the two sides expand exchanges and cooperation in diverse sectors including education, human resources, health, culture, sports, academics, media and tourism."

The Chinese president also voiced appreciation for South Africa 's adherence to the one-China policy and active support to China's reunification.

Mbeki actively responded to Hu's four-point proposals. He said that the year 2008 will mark the 10th anniversary of the inauguration of diplomatic ties of the two countries. South Africa hopes the two sides review the development progress of bilateral ties and deepen the cooperation between the two countries.

He said that South Africa and China will carry out the cooperation plan on deepening the strategic partnership, and promote the cooperation in the fields of trade, investment, human resources, culture and sports.

South Africa welcomes Chinese enterprises to bid for the construction of the stadium for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, the president said.

On South-South cooperation and the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), Hu said that the developing countries cannot have a bright future without strengthening cooperation with each other.

China proposes that the developing countries strengthen dialogue and expand cooperation, actively protect their own common interests, explore potential, create new modes of cooperation, expand trade and investment, strengthen negotiations and coordination, actively participate in the enacting of international economic rules, and push forward the economic globalization in the direction of balanced, generally beneficial and win-win development, Hu said.

China is willing to cooperate with the developing countries including South Africa to push forward the construction of a peaceful, prosperous and harmonious world, and implement the results achieved during the Beijing Summit of the FOCAC, Hu said.

Mbeki said the Beijing Summit is a great success. Sino-African relations have drawn world's attention. South Africa hopes to strengthen negotiations with China to demonstrate to the world that cooperation between China and South Africa will benefit not only the two countries but also the whole world as well.

Before the meeting, Hu held a welcoming ceremony for President Mbeki, who arrived here on Friday to attend the Beijing Summit and pay a state visit to China at Hu's invitation.

Also Monday morning, Mbeki met with China's top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao, respectively.

Mbeki, who arrived Friday for a state visit at Hu's invitation, 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 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.

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.

Source: Xinhua

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