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Commentary: China-South Africa relations, BRICS cooperation to usher into new era


Alwihda Info | Par peoplesdaily - 20 Juillet 2018

China believes that the Johannesburg meeting will inject impetus into the second “golden decade” of the BRICS cooperation, advance the undertakings of world peace and development, establish a new type of international relationship and make new contributions to the building a community of shared future for mankind.


By Lin Songtian

This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relationship between China and South Africa and the 10th anniversary of the BRICS summit mechanism. At this commemorative moment, Chinese President Xi Jinping will kick off his third state visit to South Africa and attend the 10th BRICS summit in Johannesburg.

This visit is Xi’s first trip to a foreign country in 2018, and also an important diplomatic event of China towards developing countries in Africa and the Middle East. The significant trip has attracted worldwide attention.

China is one of the most important partners of South Africa. Over the past 20 years, the two countries have agreed to upgrade their ties from a partnership to a strategic partnership, and then a comprehensive strategic partnership.

Featuring strategic approaches, all-round development and mutual benefit, the China-South Africa ties have established major advantages in political mutual trust, mutually beneficial economic and trade cooperation, people-to-people bond and international collaboration.

Four cooperation platforms including the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, BRICS cooperation mechanism, the Belt and Road Initiative and South-South cooperation have been established through joint efforts of the two sides. The China-South Africa relations have set a good example for China-Africa cooperation and South-South Cooperation.

China has remained the largest trade partner, as well as a major investor and source of tourists of South Africa for the ninth straight year, investing over $25 billion and creating more than 400,000 jobs in the latter.

The trade volume between the two countries grew 25-fold from $1.5 billion when they established diplomatic ties two decades ago, to $39.17 billion last year.

In addition, branches and offices of big Chinese financial institutions have also been established in South Africa, contributing to a deepened bilateral economic and trade cooperation.

With more sister cities than other African countries in China, South Africa is a major destination for Chinese tourists, and also home to the largest number of overseas Chinese, Chinese students and Confucius Institutes on the African continent. Such friendship between the two countries can come down to solid social foundation and public support.

South Africa enjoys the maturest environment for the mutually beneficial cooperation between China and Africa, thanks to its abundant resources and regional advantages, as well as superior conditions for development.

China, in turn, holds comparative advantages in capital, technology, market, enterprises and experience, together with developed industries and huge capacity.

The mutually complementary cooperation between China and South Africa is ushering into a historic opportunity of seamless matching for their development.

China is willing to work together with South Africa to comprehensively deepen friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation. It will help build South Africa into a “lead goose” of Africa, an engine and production base of the continent’s industrialization and modernization, and a pilot ground for the connection of the Belt and Road Initiative and Africa.

By committing themselves to enhancing and deepening their comprehensive strategic partnership, China and South Africa have grown into a key engine making the global governance system more just and reasonable.

Both countries have established close coordination and collaboration in multilateral mechanisms including the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, the BRICS, the G20 and the UN. China and South Africa stand firm in safeguarding the common interests of both countries and other developing countries.

The world is now undergoing the most complicated and profound changes in a century. The economic globalization and multilateral trade system is facing threats posed by some super power chasing after unilateralism, protectionism and extreme egoism in an irrational manner.

Facing such severe challenges, the BRICS countries are widely expected to deliver their voices and firmly safeguard the common interests of the people around the globe through unity and cooperation.

Under the theme “BRICS in Africa: Collaboration for Inclusive Growth and Shared Prosperity in the 4th Industrial Revolution”, the forthcoming Johannesburg summit will renew the “BRICS Plus” mode originated from last year’s Xiamen summit, follow the trend of times and meet people’s expectation.

China believes that the Johannesburg meeting will inject impetus into the second “golden decade” of the BRICS cooperation, advance the undertakings of world peace and development, establish a new type of international relationship and make new contributions to the building a community of shared future for mankind.

South Africans are looking forward to Xi’s third state visit to their country and his attendance at the 10th BRICS Summit. I believe that his visit will definitely drive the development of the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership and the unity and cooperation of the BRICS countries. It will also push for a new high for China-South Africa relationship and the BRICS win-win cooperation.

By Lin Songtian, Chinese Ambassador to South Africa.

(People’s Daily)