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China-South African Relations on Fast Track
  China-South African Relations on Fast Track

 

China and South Africa are both big developing countries of major influence. Fourteen years since the establishment of diplomatic ties on January 1, 1998, bilateral relations have witnessed fast, multi-facet and all-round growth.

Mutual trust has been steadily enhanced and deepened along with frequent exchanges of high-level visits. China-South African relations have witnessed three major leaps over the years. In 2000, during Chinese President Jiang Zemin's visit to South Africa, the two countries signed the Pretoria Declaration on partnership relations. In 2004, China and South Africa further defined their relations as strategic partnership of equality, mutual benefit and common development. In 2010, when President Jacob Zuma first visited China, he signed the Beijing Declaration with Chinese President Hu Jintao, establishing the comprehensive strategic partnership.

Effective mechanisms have been set up along the way, providing important forums for fruitful discussions and exchanges. The China-South Africa Bi-National Commission was established in 2000, under which five sectoral committees, respectively on diplomatic affairs, trade, education, science and technology, and defense, have been set up. The Mechanism of Strategic Dialogue, established in 2008, has completed four rounds of meetings. The Parliamentary Regular Exchange Mechanism of the two countries was set up in 2011, and has already conducted two rounds of talks.

Considerable achievements have been made on economic front. Since 2009, China has become South Africa's biggest trade partner and export destination, and South Africa has become China's largest trading partner in Africa. In 2011, bilateral trade hit a record high of more than 45 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for a quarter of China-Africa trade.

 

 

Cooperation in culture, science and technology, education, tourism and other field have also made rapid progress. A series of culture activities named Experiencing China were warmly welcomed in South Africa. The Confucious Colleges (Chinese Language Center) were established at several South Africa universities. Of all African countries, South Africa draws the biggest number of Chinese students and tourists. There are currently 6500 Chinese students studying in South Africa. The figure of Chinese tourists amounted to 84 thousand in 2011, an annual increase of 24%.

The two countries share common interests on many major international issues. China and South Africa have kept close coordination and cooperation in major international organizations and mechanisms, including the United Nations, the Group of Twenty, and the BRICS mechanism so as to make greater contributions to enhancing the collective power and voice of developing countries in the international arena and promoting the establishment of a more just and rational international political and economic order.

China values the relationship with South Africa and always takes the development of ties with South Africa as a priority of China's foreign policy. China will make concerted efforts with South Africa to further expand bilateral exchanges and cooperation, increase exchanges between political parties and promote understanding and friendship between the two peoples so as to further promote China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership.

 

 

 

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