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A Brand New Chapter for China-Africa Cooperation

(People's Daily Online)  Tian Xuejun  2015-12-01 20:57

 
picture of Tian Xuejun, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of South Africa


By Tian Xuejun, Ambassador of the People's Republic of China to the Republic of South Africa


The year 2015 marks a milestone in the history of China-South Africa and China-Africa relations. Today, at the invitation of South African President Jacob Zuma, Chinese President Xi Jinping will once again start a state visit to the rainbow nation and later co-chair the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) with President Zuma. This visit and summit will take China-South Africa relations to a new height and open a splendid chapter of China-Africa cooperation.

China and South Africa have had long-standing exchanges and our people enjoy time-honored friendship. Thanks to our joint efforts, China-South Africa ties have reached a historical high level with a strong momentum of sound and fast development. President Xi’s visit will definitely open up new horizons for our bilateral relations.

At present, the important consensus between the two presidents and the China-South Africa Five-to-Ten Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation are being implemented in a comprehensive way. The political mutual trust between the two countries have been enhanced and fruitful results achieved in bilateral economic and trade cooperation. China’s total investment in South Africa has reached 13 billion US dollars. This year, China is very likely to stay as South Africa’s top trading partner country, No.1 export market and largest source of imports for the seventh consecutive year. South Africa will also remain as China’s largest trading partner in Africa. There are also highlights in cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries. The Year of China events have been successful in different places of South Africa. The South African government decided to introduce Mandarin into the national education curriculum as an optional subject. Air China just opened its direct flight from Beijing to Johannesburg. Both as members of multilateral mechanisms including BRICS, G20 and BASIC countries, China and South Africa have deepened their collaboration on major international and regional issues. Therefore, the old Chinese saying “people with affinity make light of distance even when they are thousands of miles apart” is now a true reflection of China-South Africa relations.

Such sound momentum could not have been achieved without the care and guidance of the two presidents. South Africa was one of the countries President Xi visited during his first overseas trip in 2013 and President Zuma has also visited China many times. Moreover, the two presidents will have met five times altogether by the end of this year. During the upcoming state visit, the two presidents are expected to reach important consensus which will charter the future course of bilateral relations and steadily move China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership forward.

After the bilateral visit, President Xi will co-chair the FOCAC Summit with President Zuma, which will be the second summit after the 2006 Beijing Summit and the first on African soil. This year marks the 15th anniversary of the founding of FOCAC. Over the past 15 years, FOCAC has advanced in parallel with China-Africa relations. It has already become a major platform enhancing China-Africa collective dialogue, an important engine promoting China-Africa practical cooperation, an effective mechanism deepening China-Africa understanding and friendship, and a banner leading international cooperation with Africa.

The summit has chosen the theme “Africa-China Progressing Together: Win-Win Cooperation for Common Development”. Leaders and representatives from 50 African member states of FOCAC as well as leaders of the African Union and other major international organizations will attend the summit. President Xi will elaborate on China’s new visions, new policies and new measures to further strengthen China-Africa solidarity and promote China-Africa cooperation.

The upcoming FOCAC Summit will certainly become another landmark in the history of China-Africa relations. China-Africa solidarity and cooperation has always been the cornerstone of China’s foreign policy. Now with highly complementary development strategies, China and Africa face golden opportunities for development. The aim of this summit is to seize the historic opportunity, be forward looking, seek common development, accelerate the deepening and upgrading of China-Africa practical cooperation and ensure a great leap forward in China-Africa relations.

Africa is home to the largest number of developing countries and China is the largest developing country in the world. China-Africa cooperation serves the interests of both sides and follows the trend of world development and the collective rise of developing countries. The summit will contribute to the building of a new type of international relations based on win-win cooperation and make fresh progress in building a community of shared future for mankind.

As a line in a Chinese poem reads, “The truly great men are those whom we see today!” Let us wish President Xi’s visit to South Africa and the FOCAC Summit a full success.