China looks forward to working with South Africa to build on the momentum of the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties and strive for faster and greater progress in their comprehensive strategic partnership, President Xi Jinping said.
Xi made the remark in a signed article published by South African newspapers The Sunday Independent, Sunday Tribune and Weekend Argus.
The president is making a state visit to South Africa on Monday and Tuesday and will then attend the 10th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg on Wednesday through Friday.
After the birth of a new South Africa, especially in the past 20 years of diplomatic relations, our two countries have supported and learned from each other in our respective exploration of a development path suited to national conditions
Xi Jinping, Chinese President
From a partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership, the China-South Africa relationship has made big strides and demonstrated strong growth momentum in political trust, economic and trade cooperation, people-to-people exchanges and strategic coordination, Xi said.
"After the birth of a new South Africa, especially in the past 20 years of diplomatic relations, our two countries have supported and learned from each other in our respective exploration of a development path suited to national conditions," he wrote.
Bilateral ties have served as a model for China-Africa relations, for South-South cooperation and for unity and cooperation among emerging market countries, Xi said.
China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for nine years and South Africa has become China's largest trading partner in Africa.
Two-way trade totaled US$39.17 billion in 2017, more than 20 times its volume at the start of the two countries' diplomatic engagement.
Preliminary statistics show China's direct investment in South Africa has grown more than 80-fold and exceeded cumulatively US$10.2 billion, creating tens of thousands of local jobs and giving a strong boost to the South African economy, according to the article.
Xi also said the China-South Africa relationship has offered valuable experience for building an even stronger community with a shared future between China and Africa and a new type of international relations characterized by mutual respect, fairness and justice, and win-win cooperation, he said.
In September, China will hold the summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation.
"I look forward to receiving President Ramaphosa in Beijing in September and co-chairing with him the FOCAC Beijing Summit," Xi wrote in the article, noting the importance of stepping up coordination and cooperation within multilateral frameworks including the United Nations, the G20 and BRICS.
"I am confident that this century will witness the rejuvenation of South Africa and that of the whole African continent," Xi added.
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