South African President Jacob Zuma and his Chinese counterpart, Hu Jintao, met in Beijing on Wednesday as part of an official visit to strengthen bilateral relations between the two countries.
Zuma is in Beijing from 18 to 20 July to attend the Fifth Ministerial Meeting of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) on Thursday.
The FOCAC meeting is an important opportunity to beef up solidarity between China and African countries, Hu said. He added that China is ready to work with South Africa to advance the construction and development of the forum, as well as a new type of China-Africa strategic partnership.
South Africa is also committed to strengthening relations with China and attaches great importance to bilateral strategic partnership. China has become South Africa’s largest trading partner and South Africa hopes to increase exports to China, Zuma said.
The country will also welcome more Chinese investment in its infrastructure construction, industrial zones and the mining industry to boost bilateral trade as well as Africa’s economic development.
‘Maintaining the momentum of high-level contact’
Bilateral relations between the countries have progressed since the two leaders met at the Nuclear Security Summit in Seoul and the Group of Twenty (G20) summit in Los Cabos earlier this year, Hu said.
He raised a five-point proposal on enhancing bilateral cooperation by suggesting that the two sides “maintain the momentum of high-level contact, deepen party-to- party exchanges and accommodate each other’s concern on major and core interests to cement strategic mutual trust”.
He called on the two countries to expand pragmatic cooperation in line with each other’s development strategy and boost balanced development of bilateral trade.
On people-to-people exchanges, Hu said the two countries should consolidate the friendship between the two peoples, noting that China supports South Africa’s economic and social development and is willing to train more professional and technical personnel for the country.
Hu also called for enhanced coordination between the two countries under the framework of the United Nations (UN), World Trade Organization (WTO), G20 and the BASIC and BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group of emerging nations to promote world peace and development.