World / China-South Africa

Beijing helps Pretoria lead way

By ZHAO HUANXIN/ZHANG YUNBI (China Daily) Updated: 2015-12-04 07:40

Beijing helps Pretoria lead way

President Xi Jinping and South African President Jacob Zuma greet each other before a news conference at the Union Buildings in Pretoria on Wednesday. [Photo/Agencies]

China will encourage agencies at home to "expand the scale of financing toward South Africa" and boost the latter's role in upgrading African industries, President Xi Jinping told his South African counterpart Jacob Zuma.

Xi, who is on his second visit to the "rainbow nation" as Chinese president, said during a bilateral meeting on Wednesday afternoon in Pretoria, South Africa's capital, that Beijing will "facilitate Pretoria's efforts in leading China-Africa cooperation on production capability and promoting Africa's industrialization".

China also supports the early launch of the establishment of an African regional center for the New Development Bank for BRICS countries, Xi said. BRICS stands for five leading emerging economies-Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.

The two heads of state, who will co-chair the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation Summit in Johannesburg on Friday and Saturday, agreed to fully implement the 5-10 Year Strategic Plan on Cooperation between the two nations.

After their talks, Xi and Zuma witnessed the signing of documents on cooperation in such fields as economy, trade, culture, science and technology. The South African president said in a statement that a total of 26 agreements were signed with a value of 94 billion rand ($6.56 billion).

"Relations between China and South Africa are currently at their best level ever," Zuma said at their joint news conference.

Zuma noted that South Africa has opened two new visa processing centers, in Chengdu and Guangzhou, which "will further promote travel between the two countries".

He Wenping, a senior researcher in African studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Xi's second state visit to South Africa "in itself has displayed Beijing's priority placed upon Pretoria".

"Most African countries are still undergoing the initial stage of industrialization, and they are yearning for industrial cooperation with China as China is fine-tuning its sectors. ... Using production capacity from China will boost local industrialization and technologies," He said.

Liu Hongwu, director of the School of African Studies at Zhejiang Normal University, said one of the latest trends of China-Africa cooperation is that of collaboration "transcending traditional realms of cooperation", both politically and economically, toward the sharing of core culture and governance.

The Chinese president arrived in South Africa on Wednesday afternoon after wrapping up a visit to Zimbabwe. Before their talks, Zuma welcomed Xi with a 21-gun salute in a ceremony at the Union Buildings, the official seat of South Africa's government that houses the presidency.

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