SA, China vow to boost strategic partnership

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Zuma is in Beijing until Friday for the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).

The President said South Africa was committed to strengthening relations with China and attached great importance to bilateral strategic partnerships.

Noting that China had become the largest trading partner of South Africa, Zuma said the country hoped to deepen mutually beneficial cooperation with China.

South Africa wants to increase exports to China and welcomed more Chinese investment in its infrastructure construction, industrial zone and mining industry, in order to boost bilateral trade as well as Africa's economic development, he said.

South Africa was willing to enhance coordination and cooperation with China on multilateral occasions, including UN and BRICS.

Speaking highly of the China-Africa relationship, Zuma thanked China for its support and assistance in Africa. He would work with China to ensure the success of the fifth Ministerial Meeting of the FOCAC.

For his part, Hu said bilateral relations had progressed since his meeting with Zuma at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul and the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Los Cabos, earlier this year.

As next month marks the two-year anniversary of the signing of the Beijing Declaration between the two countries, Hu said China would take the opportunity to boost bilateral comprehensive strategic partnerships.

He raised a four-point proposal on enhancing bilateral cooperation. He suggested that the two sides maintain the momentum of high-level contact, deepen party-to-party exchanges and accommodate each other's concern on major and core interests, so as to cement strategic mutual trust.

He further called on the two countries to expand pragmatic cooperation in line with each other's development strategy and boost balanced development of bilateral trade.

The Chinese government encourages and supports its enterprises to purchase South African products and invest in South Africa, and actively participate in the construction of South Africa's special economic zone, said the President.

Hu also called for enhanced coordination between the two countries under the framework of the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organisation (WTO), G20, BRICS and BASIC, so as to promote world peace and development.

He said Africa had maintained stability and its integration process had achieved positive progress.

China attached great importance to the concern and interests of Africa and was committed to providing assistance to Africa's peace and development within its capacity, he noted.

FOCAC will review the implementation of tasks set in the last meeting in 2009, explore new ways to deepen China-Africa relations and improve the forum's mechanism.

The meeting is also expected to forge a new cooperation plan for the coming three years and exchange views on major international and regional issues.

Presidents of Equatorial Guinea, Djibouti, Niger, Cote d'Ivoire, Prime Minister of Cape Verde and Prime Minister of Kenya are among the African leaders attending the conference.