Pretoria - President Jacob Zuma has joined global leaders in wishing Xi Jinping well as he takes over as China’s new President.
Xi was announced China's new President on Thursday. He was appointed to the Communist Party's top post in November and now succeeds President Hu Jintao.
“On behalf of the Government and the people of South Africa, His Excellency President Jacob Zuma has congratulated His Excellency Xi Jinping on his election to the position of President of the People's Republic of China,” the Presidency said in a statement.
It said South Africa looks forward to consolidating its strong relations with the People's Republic of China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.
China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner and a significant investor in the South African economy. In 2012, total trade stood at R201 billion, according to the South African Revenue Service.
The two countries are also members of the economic bloc BRICS which is to host its fifth summit in Durban next week.
The Presidency said both China and South Africa have agreed to work towards a more equitable trade balance so that both nations benefit from the trade. In this regard, a Joint Working Group on Trade Statistics under the Bi-National Commission (BNC) was established to address the trade imbalance.
The visit by China's new President to South Africa, scheduled to coincide with the BRICS Summit, will be among the first he will be undertaking to Africa since assuming office.
“South Africa views this visit as further manifestation of the ever closer relations between Africa and China”. – SAnews.gov.za