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Chinese, South African presidents discuss bilateral ties, Zimbabwe
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20:38, July 08, 2008

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Chinese President Hu Jintao held talks on Tuesday with his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki on bilateral relations and the situation in Zimbabwe.

The two leaders are in Japan to attend outreach sessions of the ongoing Group of Eight (G8) summit.

China-South Africa relations have maintained the momentum for comprehensive and in-depth development in the past year, President Hu said at the meeting.

There has been further expansion in trade and investment, and fresh headways have been made in bilateral cooperation in areas such as culture, education, science and technology, and health and tourism, he noted.

The two sides have offered understanding and support for each other on major issues of respective concern and maintained close coordination in international affairs, he added.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and China is willing to join hands with South Africa to lift the bilateral strategic partnership to a new level, Hu said.

The Chinese president's remarks were echoed by South Africa's Thabo Mbeki, who said he will continue to push forward the bilateral strategic partnership and is looking forward to his visit to China.

On the issue of Zimbabwe, the South African leader said the fate of the country should be determined by the Zimbabwean people, and Article 7 of the UN Charter should not be cited to impose sanctions on the south-central African nation.

African countries maintain that the political parties of Zimbabwe need to reach an agreement on a unity government through dialogue and cooperation to defuse the current crisis, added Mbeki.

Hu expressed China's concern over the situation in Zimbabwe and his hope that the parties concerned will patch up their differences through dialogue and restore national stability at an early date.

He said China respects and values the stance of African countries, and expects the international community to increase positive efforts to facilitate the solution of the Zimbabwe issue.

Hu also lauded the steadfast efforts made by President Mbeki to promote a proper resolution of the political crisis in Zimbabwe.

During the meeting, President Mbeki also offered his condolences to the victims of the recent devastating earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan province, and wished the Beijing Olympic Games a great success.

The Chinese president arrived here late Monday for the Outreach Session of the Group of Eight summit scheduled for Wednesday in the northern Japanese resort of Toyako.

Source: Xinhua

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