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Chinese Ambassador Lin Songtian: China-South Africa Relations Embracing the Golden Time of Harvest
2019/02/12

The year 2018 marks a momentous year for China-South Africa and China-Africa relations. In July, H.E. President Xi Jinping paid a successful state visit to South Africa for the third time and attended the BRICS Johannesburg Summit, making South Africa the only country in the world that President Xi paid three state visits to. In September, H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa of South Africa paid his first and successful state visit to China and co-chaired the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Beijing Summit with President Xi Jinping.

Such intensive interactions and in-depth exchanges between the two heads of the state have greatly enhanced political and strategic mutual trust between the two countries, drawn up a new blueprint for the development of China-South Africa and China-Africa relations and lifted the relations to a new height.

The year 2018 also marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and South Africa. With joint efforts, the bilateral relations have realized a triple jump from partnership to strategic partnership and now to comprehensive strategic partnership, which is defined by three major characteristics of being strategic, all-dimensional, and mutually beneficial. The relationship boasts four advantages of political mutual trust, economic complementarity, people-to-people friendship, and international coordination, and is underpinned by four cooperation platforms, namely FOCAC, BRICS cooperation, the Belt and Road initiative, and South-South Cooperation, bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples.

China has for ten consecutive years remained South Africa’s largest trading partner. South Africa has remained China’s biggest trading partner in Africa for nine consecutive years. In 2018, two-way trade between China and South Africa reached $43.55 billion, a 27-fold increase since the establishment of diplomatic ties. Direct investment from China to South Africa reached over 25 billion dollars in accumulative terms, which represents an increase of more than 100 times since the establishment of diplomatic ties, creating more than 400,000 jobs for South Africans.

China and South Africa are both developing and emerging market powers, and are important members of FOCAC, BRICS, G20 and the UN. Sharing common interests and similar positions on global and regional affairs, China and South Africa have become an important political force for democracy in international relations, modernization of global governance, economic globalization and trade liberalization. China and South Africa always view and develop bilateral relations from strategic and long-term perspective, regarding each other as the strategic pivot and priority in their foreign policy.

The two countries have maintained close coordination in international and regional affairs and made great contribution to safeguarding world peace, promoting common prosperity and international governance reform and upholding the common interests of developing countries and emerging economies. They have set up an excellent model for the development of China-Africa relations and South-South cooperation.

The year 2019 will be the golden time of harvest for China-South Africa relations. As the comprehensively strongest country in Africa, South Africa enjoys three unique advantages of rich resources, superb location, and the best foundation and conditions for development. Most importantly, President Cyril Ramaphosa has made the top priority of his administration to attract foreign investment, develop economy, create jobs and improve people’s livelihood and is now committed to improving government efficiency, building a safe and secure South Africa, creating more favorable investment environment to welcome foreign investment and tourists.

China would like to work closely with South Africa to seize the opportunity and implement each and every important consensus reached by the two heads of state and the outcomes of FOCAC Beijing Summit. We are ready to support South Africa to become a locomotive and production base for Africa’s industrialization and modernization and the pilot country for connecting the Belt and Road Initiative with Africa, so as to make China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership more productive and beneficial to our two countries and two peoples.

On the auspicious occasion of the Chinese Lunar New Year of the Pig, I wish to extend the best New Year greetings to all our South African friends. May our two countries and two peoples enjoy all the prosperity and happiness!

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