PRETORIA — China and South Africa on April 24 launched a people-to-people exchange mechanism and held its first meeting in Pretoria.
Vice-Premier Liu Yandong, who is also co-chairperson of the China-South Africa High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM), read out a congratulatory letter from President Xi Jinping for the first PPEM meeting.
In her remarks, Liu said the establishment of the PPEM is a strategic decision made by President Xi and South African President Jacob Zuma in view of the overall situation of China-South African relations.
It is also an important step to implement the outcomes of the 2015 Johannesburg summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation, marking the launch of China’s first inter-governmental high-level PPEM with an African country.
Liu said that the PPEM will play an important role in enhancing China-South African relations, deepening bilateral cooperation and facilitating South-South cooperation.
In recent years, with numerous meetings between the heads of state of the two countries, the China-South Africa relationship has maintained a strong momentum and kept enriching itself, said Liu, stressing that bilateral ties are at their best.
It is imperative to bring into full play the leading role of the PPEM to push forward bilateral exchanges and cooperation in a wide range of areas such as education, culture, science and technology, health, youth, women, sports, think tanks, press and tourism, she said.
The vice-premier called for the creation of a new pattern of people-to-people exchanges featuring governmental and nongovernmental efforts as well as the broad participation of various parties.
At the meeting, South African Minister of Arts and Culture Nathi Mthethwa also read out a congratulatory letter from President Zuma.
Mthethwa said the South Africa-China PPEM will enhance the mutual understanding and learning between the two peoples and give a boost to South African efforts to realize the African Dream.
Mthethwa noted that with the launch of the PPEM, South Africa and China will be better positioned to jointly face up to challenges and promote common development and prosperity.
During the meeting, Liu and Mthethwa also witnessed the signing of six cooperation agreements.