S African president: Ties with China to reach new heights

Updated: 2010-08-24 18:17
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Ladies and gentlemen,

Personally, I am pleased to be back in China so soon. My last visit to this country was in 2008 as President of the ruling party. It was a memorable and most successful visit.

Only a few weeks ago, a second group of members of the national executive committee of the South African ruling party was in China on a study tour.

The visits are an implementation of one of the decisions taken during our 2008 visit.

We had agreed then with comrades in the Communist Party of China that we had a lot to learn from each other, especially at political and economic levels.

We are encouraged by the swift implementation of the decisions of that visit.

It augurs well for our relations too, that we have moved quickly to enhance cooperation at the highest level of the two governments, as evidenced by this State Visit.

We sincerely thank the government of China for this gracious invitation.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We are particularly happy to kick-start this visit by meeting with members of the South Africa-China Business Council. This forum is a crucial mechanism of interaction by our respective business communities.

Let me point out from the onset that for South Africa, the expansion of foreign trade is not an end in itself. It is a means to an end, which is to improve the quality of life of all South Africans.

The quest for beneficial international trade relations is aimed at helping us to achieve the necessary economic growth to enable us to achieve our developmental objectives.

We have to ensure an environment in which decent work is created for, and by our people. We have to improve the quality of education and health care.

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We need resources to be able to develop our rural areas, expand our infrastructure network such as roads, bridges, public transport, electricity and water supplies, and enable us to build more secure and thriving communities. China is one of our key strategic partners in the achievement of these goals.

To boost our economic interaction with China, I have brought with me more than three hundred and fifty businesspeople, representing both big and small businesses.

This is the biggest business delegation we have ever taken anywhere since the fourth ANC administration came into office.

The size of the delegation illustrates the expectations of the South African business community from this relationship between the two countries.