Pretoria - Government has reiterated its commitment to working together with the People's Republic of China to increase the volumes of trade and narrow the trade imbalance, which is currently in favour of China.
Extending a warm welcome to Chinese Vice President, Xi Jinping, and members of his delegation, on Tuesday, South African Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe said relations between South Africa and China had been growing stronger and stronger since 1998, when the two countries formally established diplomatic ties.
"The strength of this relationship is demonstrated by frequent exchange between our people as well as high volumes of trade and investment between South Africa and China," Motlanthe said.
South African ministers, officials and a delegation from China will today hold a meeting to discuss how the two countries can exploit new opportunities in the areas of value added manufacturing, technology, energy and information and communication technology.
Motlanthe said both countries are in agreement that this was a long term commitment to co-operation between their people.
He expressed South Africa's satisfaction with the progress that has already been achieved since the first meeting of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) in China in 2001.
Motlanthe also congratulated China on the successful hosting of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo and expressed appreciation for the assistance given to the South African Pavilion.
"We participated at the expo knowing full well that its fruits will be harvested in the long term. We are confident that the 4.5 million visitors to our pavilion, together with millions others who watched the spectacular 2010 FIFA World Cup will remain friends of South Africa and translate into a viable market," Motlanthe said.
He further noted that China's involvement through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Africa's economic development was growing rapidly and trade was now over US$ 100 billion.
"In this connection, we also look forward to a sustained friendship at multilateral level in pursuit of a more peaceful, equitable and prosperous global community," he said, assuring that South Africa's deepening Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will definitely accelerate the two countries common journey towards a better life for its people.
"Hopefully this is the first of many visits to South Africa, together with the people of South Africa we will do everything to make your short stay a memorable one," said Motlanthe.