November 15th, 2010 | Xinhua Xi’s visit expected to boost China-South Africa ties: ambassador
Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Africa this week is expected to strengthen the “already very good” bilateral relations, says South Africa’s ambassador to China.
At the invitation of Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe, Xi will pay an official visit to South Africa from Nov. 16 to 19, when he and Motlanthe will co-chair the fourth meeting of the China-South Africa Bi-National Commission.
“The visit is an important event for diplomatic relations between our two countries,” South African ambassador Bheki Langa told Xinhua.
Xi’s visit “gives effect to the recently signed CSP that envisages high-level visits between the two sides,” Langa said, referring to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) forged by South African President Jacob Zuma and Chinese counterpart Hu Jintao in August.
The China-South Africa Bi-National Commission was an important forum for concrete discussions on the practical implementation of programs and exchanges that formed the bedrock of bilateral ties, said Langa.
“We hope that there will be positive and practical outcomes from the Bi-National Commission that will be of mutual benefit to our peoples,” he said.
China and South Africa had made “considerable achievements” in economic cooperation since forging diplomatic relations in 1998, he said.
China became South Africa’s biggest trade partner and export destination as bilateral trade hit a record of more than 16 billion U.S. dollars last year, 10 times as much as that in 1998. Bilateral trade volume in the first nine months of this year reached 17.3 billion U.S. dollars, up 50.6 percent year on year.
“South Africa is still at an early stage of what will be an exciting journey, a journey out of poverty, a journey to sustainable improvements in the lives of its people and the African continent,” Langa said.
China was making an important contribution to the development of the African continent, he said.
By the end of 2009, China’s investments in South Africa amounted to 2.3 billion U.S. dollars. Investment has expanded from the traditional textiles and garments to energy, mining, machinery, household electrical appliances and construction materials.
“Chinese assistance in infrastructure development in some of the less developed parts of Africa is certainly making an important contribution to future African development,” he said.
South Africa, for its part, was looking to China to increase its investment in the country, which, as Africa’s largest and most advanced economy, was strategic for China, he said.