President Xi Jinping holds talks with South African president
By Ali Ramay
August 23, 2023 10:51 AM
On the morning of August 22 local time, President Xi Jinping held talks with President of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa at the Union Buildings in Pretoria during his state visit to the country. The two heads of state had an in-depth exchange of views on the development of China-South Africa relations in the new era and international and regional issues of mutual interest, and they reached important common understandings. They agreed to work together to take the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights and build a high-quality China-South Africa community with a shared future.
Under a bright sky in August in Pretoria, flowers at the square of the Union Buildings were in blossom, while national flags of China and South Africa were waving in the gentle breeze. President Xi Jinping arrived at the Union Buildings in the presidential motorcade, and was warmly greeted by President Ramaphosa when getting off the limousine. As the two heads of state stepped onto the stand, a guard of honor saluted with rifles. The military band played the national anthems of China and South Africa, and a 21-gun salute was fired. President Xi Jinping reviewed the guard of honor of South Africa. The two presidents shook hands with senior members of the delegations.
The two heads of state held talks after the welcoming ceremony.
President Xi Jinping noted that it was his fourth visit to South Africa as Chinese President. He said that he has personally experienced the robust growth of China-South Africa relations over the past decade. The key to the strong relationship and profound friendship lies in the mutual support by the two countries and the two political parties in pursuit of their respective development. China is advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization, while South Africa is exploring a path toward modernization that suits its own national conditions. China is ready to work with South Africa to carry forward the friendship, deepen cooperation, and strengthen coordination, in an effort to take the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights and build a high-quality China-South Africa community with a shared future.
In this connection, President Xi Jinping made four proposals.
First, China and South Africa should be strategic partners with a high degree of mutual trust. Comradeship and brotherhood are inherent to the bilateral relationship. The two sides need to step up exchange and cooperation between legislatures, political parties, the military and subnational governments, and continue to support each other on issues concerning their respective core interests and key concerns. China is ready to step up exchanges between political parties and cooperation on training, and will do its best to help the African National Congress develop the African Leadership Academy.
Second, China and South Africa should be development partners making progress together. Mutual benefits and win-win are defining features of their cooperation. With a focus on Belt and Road cooperation, implementation of the nine programs of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation as well as the 10-Year Strategic Program of Cooperation, the two sides need to consolidate cooperation in areas of strength and foster new growth points for cooperation. China will expand import of South African products, and encourage more Chinese companies to invest and do business in South Africa. Poverty reduction, agricultural development and rural revitalization are an important part of Chinese modernization. China is ready to enhance experience sharing with South Africa and help implement the program of demonstration village for poverty reduction.
Third, China and South Africa should be friendly partners enjoying mutual understanding. Close ties between the two peoples are a vivid example of amity between the two countries. China is ready to enhance the role of the China & Africa (South Africa) Technical and Vocational Education Cooperation Alliance, the Future of Africa, a project for China-Africa cooperation for vocational education, and other mechanisms, so as to strengthen exchange and cooperation with South Africa on vocational education and youth employment, and help the country cultivate all sorts of talent urgently needed for economic and social development. The two sides need to ramp up cooperation on tourism, support closer technological cooperation and joint research by scientific research institutions and businesses, and deliver more benefits of cooperation to the two peoples.
Fourth, China and South Africa should be global partners with a commitment to justice. Independence is a principle upheld by both countries. China supports South Africa in playing a bigger role in international and regional affairs, and is ready to work with South Africa and other developing countries to jointly implement the Global Development Initiative, the Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative, practice true multilateralism, increase the representation and voice of the Global South in global governance, bolster coordination on climate change, food security and the U.N. 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and safeguard the shared interests and development space of developing countries.
President Xi Jinping pointed out that, in recent years, BRICS countries have acted on the BRICS spirit of openness, inclusiveness and win-win cooperation, and have written a splendid chapter of countries with different systems and cultures and in different regions joining hands for development, which has become a signature of South-South cooperation. The President spoke highly of the thoughtful preparation by South Africa for the upcoming BRICS Summit and said that he looks forward to working with BRICS leaders to explore ways for the unity and development of BRICS countries in the new era, push for more fruitful outcomes of the Summit and facilitate the building of a more just and equitable global governance.
President Xi Jinping emphasized that China and Africa have always been a community with a shared future. As the world is undergoing transformation and turbulence, China and Africa need solidarity and cooperation more than ever. China firmly supports African countries in seeking strength through unity, firmly supports the African Union in joining the G20, and firmly supports Africa in promoting its industrialization and agricultural modernization. He looks forward to co-hosting the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue with President Ramaphosa to draw up a new blueprint together with other participating African leaders for China-Africa unity and cooperation and to take the China-South Africa community with a shared future to a higher level.
President Ramaphosa noted that it is a great pleasure to receive President Xi Jinping for his fourth state visit to South Africa. China lent precious support to South Africa during its struggles for national independence and liberation and in its pursuit of national development. China gave South Africa much-needed support in difficult times such as during the COVID-19 pandemic. China is a true friend, brother, and partner of South Africa. Both South Africa and China are pursuing national development and prosperity, and hold the same or similar positions on a number of major international affairs. Over the past 25 years after the establishment of the diplomatic relations, South Africa has been committed to the one-China principle. The two countries have enjoyed vibrant relations, close interactions at various levels and fruitful cooperation in many fields. Investment from and cooperation with China has greatly facilitated the economic and social development of South Africa, and played a very important role in promoting development and prosperity in countries in Africa and the Global South. South Africa commends the huge development feats achieved by the Chinese people under the leadership of the Communist Party of China. It is ready to develop closer exchanges between political parties, deepen experience sharing on the governance of political parties and countries, carry out pilot programs for poverty reduction with Chinese features, and expand cooperation on trade, investment, energy, infrastructure, manufacturing, and science and technology. He welcomes more Chinese businesses to invest and do business in South Africa.
President Ramaphosa noted that the world today is faced with geopolitical challenges, energy crises and many other serious and complex issues. He fully agrees with President Xi Jinping’s proposal for win-win cooperation. South Africa and other countries in the Global South all hope to strengthen solidarity and cooperation with China to better meet challenges together, and promote an international order that is more egalitarian, just and equitable. He thanked China for supporting South Africa in hosting a successful BRICS Summit. South Africa is ready to work with other BRICS countries to resolutely uphold multilateralism, advance reform of the global governance system, and safeguard the common interests of the developing countries. He looks forward to co-hosting the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue with President Xi Jinping to take Africa-China relations to new heights.
The two presidents agreed to further advance the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era, increase the representation and say of the Global South in global governance, and lend fresh impetus to the endeavor to deepen solidarity and cooperation of BRICS countries and bring China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership to new levels.
Following their talks, President Ramaphosa bestowed to President Xi Jinping the Order of South Africa, the highest medal and honor of South Africa for the heads of state of friendly countries.
The two presidents witnessed the signing of bilateral cooperation documents on Belt and Road cooperation, infrastructure, new energy, agricultural product, special economic zone, industrial park, blue economy, technological innovation and higher education.
The two sides issued a Joint Statement Between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa.
At noon on the same day, President Ramaphosa held a welcoming banquet for President Xi Jinping at Mahlamba Ndlopfu.
Cai Qi and Wang Yi were present at these events.
Furthermore, the summit provided an invaluable networking opportunity for business leaders and entrepreneurs from BRICS countries. Bilateral meetings and strategic partnerships were forged, underscoring the potential for economic collaboration beyond government-level interactions.
In conclusion, the 15th BRICS Summit held in South Africa proved to be a significant milestone in the ongoing dialogue among major emerging economies. The presence of President Xi Jinping of China further solidified the commitment to cooperation and diplomacy among the BRICS nations. As the world faces complex challenges, the BRICS partnership continues to be a beacon of hope, fostering unity, collaboration, and progress on the global stage.