Chinese President begins visit to South Africa

Updated: 2007-02-06 19:18

Chinese President Hu Jintao arrived in Pretoria on Tuesday for a state visit aimed at enhancing the strategic partnership between China and South Africa, following a two-day visit to Namibia.

In Pretoria, he will hold talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki on expanding mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.

In a written statement released at the airport, Hu said that the new South Africa, since its founding, has made remarkable achievements in national reconciliation and economic and social development.

"As an advocate for African renaissance and a promoter of South-South cooperation and South-North dialogue, South Africa has made important contributions to peace and development in Africa and the whole world," he said.

In nearly 10 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the China-South Africa strategic partnership, which is based on equality and mutual benefit for common development, has steadily grown in depth, according to the Chinese president.

Hu flew into South Africa from the Namibian capital of Windhoek, where he held talks with his Namibian counterpart Hifikepunye Pohamba on bilateral relations, the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) and other major issues of common concern.

At the end of Hu's visit to Namibia on Tuesday, China and Namibia inked a joint communique, in which the two nations promised to further boost economic and trade cooperation and reaffirmed their commitment to continuing mutual support on issues concerning sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The communique said that the presidents of China and Namibia believed bilateral economic cooperation and trade "enjoy great potential for further growth."

The two leaders, who held talks on Monday, agreed to work together to strengthen bilateral cooperation in areas such as mining, agriculture, tourism, manufacturing and the development of human resource, said the document.

"The two governments will continue to encourage their business people to increase contacts and expand cooperation and will create conditions to facilitate two-way trade and investment," said the communique.

In the communique, the Namibian government reiterated its adherence to the one-China policy and its opposition to "Taiwan independence" in any form, including "de jure Taiwan independence, " and to Taiwan's accession to any international organization of sovereign states.

The Namibian side also reiterated its position of not having any official relations or contacts with Taiwan and reaffirmed its support for the Chinese government's efforts to achieve national reunification.

During his talks with the Namibian president on Monday, Hu made a four-point proposal on promoting bilateral ties, which included enhancing political exchanges, expanding cooperation in economy and trade, increasing people-to-people contacts, and continuing to support each other in international affairs.

South Africa is the sixth-leg of Hu's eight-nation Africa tour, which has already taken him to Cameroon, Liberia, Sudan, Zambia and Namibia, and will also take him to Mozambique and Seychelles.

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