The Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) of South Africa held a cocktail farewell reception for Ambassador LIU Guijin at the Diplomatic Guesthouse on 23rd March 2007 in Pretoria. Ambassador Jerry Matjila, Deputy Director General of DFA hosted the reception with guests from the DFA, businesses of both SA and China, and educational and cultural circles of SA. Madam YUAN Xiaoying, wife of Ambassador Liu, Minister Counsellor ZHOU Yuxiao were also among the guests.
In his toasts, Ambassador Matjila highly praised the efforts Ambassador LIU made in the past 6 years in developing Sino – South African ties, which was exemplified not only in the political area but also in economic and cultural ones. As one of the longest serving Ambassadors in Pretoria, he added, Ambassador LIU has been one of the most respected ambassadors, to whom many wants to extend the invitation to their houses and offices. Ambassador Matjila concluded by saying that Ambassador LIU would not stop contributing to the growth of Sino-African relations and friendship between China and South Africa as one of the few Chinese experts on Africa.
Ambassador LIU responded by saying that he was grateful for the DFA in hosting this reception and inviting guests who have close contacts with China, and representatives of Chinese business in SA. He went on by saying that, as an Ambassador, he has been extremely delighted and lucky to witness the rapid growth of bilateral relations. In the past years, the strategic partnership between China and SA has been established. The Ambassador also said that he was especially proud that economic ties have been developed so fast during the past years. In 2000, bilateral trade volume between China and South Africa was just 2 billion US dollars, but by the end of last year, it reached nearly 10 billion US dollars. During the same period, mutual investments increased rapidly with both China's investment to South Africa grew from merely less than 200 million US dollars to more than 1 billion US dollars in total if the Chinese private sector's inputs were included. The Ambassador also expressed his gratitude to officials of the DFA in supporting his job.
Mr Jerry Vilakazi, CEO of Business Unity South Africa, expressed thanks and good wishes to the Ambassador and his wife. He is also convinced that relations and exchanges between South African and Chinese businesses will br further enhanced in the future as people are aware of the huge potentials of both markets.