A new chapter for China-South Africa cooperation

14:51, May 25, 2011      

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Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, arrived in Cape Town and started an official goodwill visit to South Africa at the invitation of Speaker of South African National Assembly Max Sisulu on May 23.

Right before Wu's visit, Zhong Jianhua, China's ambassador to South Africa, said the two countries have had frequent political exchanges, strong cooperation and active cultural communication in recent years, and he predicted that Wu's visit would absolutely promote the exchanges of two parliaments, deepen the strategic partnership of two sides and write a new chapter in China-South Africa cooperation.

In the 13 years since China and South Africa established diplomatic relations, Zhong said, the bilateral relationship has developed comprehensively and rapidly, and the level of cooperation has increased in various respects.

In recent years, frequent high-level exchanges have deepened the strategic partnership and strengthened the mutual political trust of the two sides, which means the two countries can support each other on key and important matters that affect them both.

Last August, leaders of China and South Africa signed the "Beijing Declaration" to develop the strategic partnership of the two countries. South African President Jacob Zuma participated in the Leaders' Meeting of BRICS in China in this April, and China-South Africa relations have enjoyed a new period of development since then. Also in April of this year, China's naval escort squad dropped a visit to the Durban Port of South Africa and shared its anti-piracy experience with the South African navy.

Zhong said Sisulu visited China last year and held a talk with his counterpart Wu Bangguo, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China. They exchanged opinions on bilateral relations, communication between two parliaments and other important issues concerning both countries, and they reached extensive common agreements at that meeting.

The communication between two parliaments is one of the most important aspects of China-South Africa relations, delegations of the South African National Assembly visited China many times to learn and inspect China's developing situations and progresses.

In regard to economic cooperation, Zhong said the two countries helped one another through the global financial crisis in 2009, and China became South Africa's biggest trade partner as bilateral trade hit a historic high of more than 16 billion U.S. dollars that year, while trade in 2010 exceeded 20 billion U.S. dollars.

In addition, a number of powerful Chinese enterprises, including Industrial Commercial Bank of China, Sinosteel Corporation and Huawei, set up shop in South Africa and have become important forces for the local economy.

South Africa is the biggest economy of Africa and also a member state of the G20. The potential for cooperation between China and South Africa is even larger since South Africa joined BRICS nations, Zhong pointed out.

He also said it must be the common wish and basic benefit of the two countries' people to develop and deepen the relationship between China and South Africa and to promote the communication and cooperation in various fields.

By Wang Hanlu, People's Daily Online

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