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Congratulatory Message on 15 Years of Diplomatic Relations from SA to China

TO: The Honourable Yang Jiechi
Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People's Republic of China

January 1 2013 marked an auspicious date in the bilateral relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa. On this day 15 years ago, our two countries established formal diplomatic relations.

The years have seen the relationship develop significantly in all areas of co-operation. This is benchmarked by the strategic dialogue partnership agreed to by SA and China in 2008 and later followed by the signing of the Beijing Declaration on the establishment of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in 2010.

Since 2002, the Bi-National Commission has been the instrument governing this relationship, and has led to the substantial growth in our economic relations. Today China is South Africa's largest trading partner and significant investments are being made in both countries by the private sector.

President Jacob Zuma was honoured to have been in China at last year's meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation (FOCAC) and to have concluded a working visit to China. During this visit, President Zuma and President Hu Jintao also agreed on the formation of the Joint Working Group to give further impetus to the co-operation.

China has a strong track record on the African continent in support of Africa's development and South Africa was honoured to assume co-chair of FOCAC last year. This forum has proven to be a key instrument in advancing Africa's development agenda and South Africa looks forward to working with China to address Africa's development challenges in the next six years of our co-chairship.

China and South Africa have collaborated closely in the multilateral arena working for a more equitable global order through, among other organisations, the UN, the Bretton Woods institutions, the G20, BASIC and Brics. We express our gratitude to China in supporting South Africa's membership of Brics and we will be working with China as South Africa hosts the fifth Brics Summit in March.

We reaffirm our will and commitment to further strengthen this important relationship and strategic partnership.

Maite Nkoana-Mashabana MP
International Relations and Co-operation Minister of South Africa
January 2013


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