Cape Town – The Minister of International Relations and Cooperation, Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, has thanked China for expanding the number of scholarships available to South African youth to study in the Asian giant, by 200 additional places.
During a meeting on Monday at the Taj Hotel in Cape Town with her counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi, Nkoana-Mashabane said the South African government would continue to assess the first batch of about 60 scholars sent to China.
Jiechi and his delegation, which is expected to meet with President Jacob Zuma today, is here to help with preparations for the next Brics summit, which will take place in Durban on March 26 and 27.
Jiechi said China would welcome more students from South Africa, and encouraged more Chinese students to also come to study in South Africa.
He said China and South Africa had deepened relations on various fronts over the years, including those of education, social, economic and political issues.
“South Africa is a very important country in Africa and the world,” he said, adding that China and SA ought to work harder for the benefit of developing countries and for the whole of mankind.
Jiechi said annual China-South Africa trade had reached almost $60 billion and that the two countries had economies that were “highly complementary” to one another.
He said he was certain that the next Brics summit would break new ground.
Nkoana-Mashabane said preparations for the summit were at an “advanced stage”.
She also invited Chinese companies to take full opportunity of the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project, which South Africa is co-hosting with Australia.
South Africa’s relationship with China had moved to the highest level with the signing of the comprehensive strategic partnership agreement with China in 2010, the minister noted.
“We are looking forward to not only signing agreements, but also building on the strong pillars that have been laid by this comprehensive strategic partnership treaty.”
Nkoana-Mashabane told officials from her department and the Chinese delegation that in an earlier private meeting with Jiechi, she had told her counterpart how she enjoyed working with him and had commended him for the professionalism and passion he had for his work.
Earlier this month, Nkoana-Mashabane celebrated 15 years of formal diplomatic relations between South Africa and China at a function hosted at the Chinese embassy in Pretoria. – SAnews.gov.za