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South African president to visit China next week

Updated: Nov 28,2014 7:43 AM     Xinhua

BEIJING — South African President Jacob Zuma will pay a state visit to China from Dec 3 to 6, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying announced on Nov 27.

This is Zuma’s first visit to China since his second term re-election in May.

According to Hua, President Xi Jinping will hold talks with Zuma, and Premier Li Keqiang and top legislator Zhang Dejiang will also meet him.

Topics on the agenda will include the deepening of bilateral ties and issues of common concern, said Hua.

The two sides will sign a series of documents on politics; the economy and trade; health; and agriculture, she said.

Hailing the momentum of bilateral ties, Hua said that during Xi’s state visit to South Africa in March last year, China and South Africa prioritized each other in their foreign strategies.

“President Zuma’s upcoming visit will further enhance China-South Africa relations and forge the development of bilateral ties, “Hua said.

The visit will focus on priority issues of development in South Africa and Africa, the country’s Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Maite Nkoana- Mashabane told a media briefing in Pretoria.

South Africa sees China as a key partner in the implementation of some of the grandiose infrastructure and other development plans on the continent, said the minister.

“South Africa and China share a sound political relationship which can be used better to lay the basis for implementing South Africa’s economic objectives,” Nkoana-Mashabane said.

China is South Africa’s single largest trading partner in the world, and South Africa has become China’s largest trading partner in Africa.

During the visit, leaders of the two countries will adopt the China-South Africa 5-10 Year Framework on Cooperation that will further entrench the implementation of agreements entered into since the conclusion of the Beijing Declaration in 2010 and expand on the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Nkoana-Mashabane said.

Both sides will also discuss ways of supporting South Africa’s industrialization agenda by agreeing to invest in the development of science and technology, agro-processing; mining and mineral beneficiation, renewable energy, finance and tourism, said the minister.

South Africa also wants to promote cooperation in equipment manufacturing and the localization of procurement through joint ventures with South African companies, according to Nkoana- Mashabane.

The visit, she said, will ensure that “our relations with China remain central to realizing our developmental agenda through our foreign policy.”

The minister also said the accession by South Africa to the membership of BRICS was an important milestone in the relations between the two countries.

It was in December 2010 during China’s tenure as Chair of what was then BRIC that South Africa become a member of this important grouping, BRICS.

South Africa is an important entry point and bridge to the rest of the continent. This was aptly demonstrated by South Africa’s successful hosting of the 5th BRICS Summit in Durban in March 2013, where for the first time African leaders were invited to attend, thus creating a platform for dialogue between BRICS and the continent, Nkoana-Mashabane said.

The recent establishment of the BRICS Development Bank to be headquartered in Shanghai and the decision to locate its African Regional Center in South Africa not only raises the level of cooperation between China and South Africa in addressing global challenges, but it is yet another clear indicator of South Africa’s growing significance in driving the African Agenda, the minister said.

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