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S. Africa marks 20 years of diplomatic relations with China

Xinhua | Updated: 2018-01-09 11:28
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President of South Africa Jacob Zuma attends the 54th National Conference of the ruling African National Congress (ANC) at the Nasrec Expo Center in Johannesburg, South Africa, December 16, 2017. [Photo/Agencies]

CAPE TOWN - The South African government on Monday celebrated 20 years of diplomatic relations with China, pledging to explore more opportunities for win-win cooperation between the two countries.

President Jacob Zuma took the opportunity to express his hope to further reinforce the well-established relations.

More opportunities remain to be tapped to create win-win cooperation for both countries, the president said.

"The government and the people of the Republic of South Africa join me in conveying to the government and people of the People's Republic of China our warmest greetings," Zuma said.

The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) also issued a statement to mark the occasion.

"Over the past 20 years, the two countries achieved a significant number of bilateral cooperation agreements in areas including trade, investment, economic and people-to-people relations," DIRCO spokesperson Clayson Monyela said in the statement.

South Africa and China established diplomatic ties on January 1, 1998.

In the previous two decades, the two countries have assumed increased strategic significance, starting with a Partnership in 2000, to a Strategic Partnership in 2004 and ultimately to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) in 2010 when the two sides signed the Beijing Declaration, Monyela said.

He said the year of 2017 saw South Africa and China strengthening friendship through the inaugural of South Africa-China High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism which took place in Pretoria, South Africa in April.

Also last year, South Africa advanced the China-Africa partnership by continuing to co-chair the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), and working towards the implementation of the outcomes of the 2015 FOCAC Johannesburg Summit, while China successfully hosted the 9th BRICS Summit in Xiamen, said Monyela.

South Africa is scheduled to host the 10th BRICS Summit in 2018.

With bilateral trade continuing to grow, China has been South Africa's biggest trade partner for eight years running.

According to the latest official figures provided by the Chinese Embassy in South Africa, bilateral trade volume stood at $35.3 billion in 2016, with China exporting goods worth $12.8 billion, and importing goods worth $22.5 billion.

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