On January 21, Ambassador Zhong Jianhua and Mme. Lu Qingjiang hosted a tea party for Chinese media in South Africa and celebrated the 10th anniversary of China-SA diplomatic ties.
Upon request, Ambassador Zhong introduced the development of China-South Africa relations. Ambassador Zhong said that the year 2008 marks the 10th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic ties. Over the past 10 years, bilateral relations have witnessed a rapid, all-round development and the two countries have established a strategic partnership with fruitful cooperation in bilateral and international affairs. China-South Africa relationship has become one of the most important and dynamic bilateral relations between China and African countries as well as major developing nations. In 2007, the bilateral trade volume reached US$14.04 billion, 6.5 times of that volume 10 years ago.
China and South Africa share broad common interest and hold identical or similar views on many key issues. China attaches great importance to ties with South Africa and is ready to take the opportunity of the 10th anniversary of the diplomatic ties to strengthen bilateral exchanges, build political trust and deepen mutually beneficial cooperation, so as to push China-South Africa ties to a new level, Ambassador Zhong added.
Ambassador Zhong also briefed the media on Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi's visit to South Africa. During his visit, Minister Yang Jiechi met with President Mbeki and Foreign Minister Zuma. Both sides agreed to continue maintaining high-level visits, build up mutual understanding and friendship through various forms of celebrations on the 10th anniversary of diplomatic ties and establish a strategic dialogue mechanism between the two Foreign Ministries to keep closer communication and cooperation in international and regional affairs. The two sides also pledged to enhance cooperation on agriculture, economy, trade, science and technology, education and human resources and jointly promote China-Africa cooperation within the framework of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
Ambassdor Zhong said that both sides are actively preparing for the commemorative events for the 10th anniversay anniversary. There will be a series of exchanges between the two countries. China is going host a gala reception, Spring Festival Fair and cultural relics exhibition, just to name a few. There will be a South Africa week, exhibitions and a trade fair in China. Both sides hope to take this co-operation to higher levels by ensuring all sectors of South African and Chinese society participate.
Ambassador Zhong also sent his Spring festival greetings to the Chinese community via the media and wishes that Chinese media could achieve more in promoting bilateral relations.