18 March 2013
South African President Jacob Zuma has joined global leaders in wishing Xi Jinping well as he takes over as China’s new president.
Xi was announced as China’s new President on Thursday. He was appointed to the Communist Party’s top post in November, and now succeeds President Hu Jintao.
The Presidency said in a statement on the weekend that South Africa looked forward to consolidating its strong relations with the People’s Republic of China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.
China is South Africa’s biggest trading partner and a significant investor in the South African economy. In 2012, total trade between the two countries stood at R201-billion, according to the South African Revenue Service.
The two countries are also members of the BRICS group of influential emerging economies, which is to host its fifth summit in Durban next week.
Xi’s visit to South Africa to attend the summit will be one of the first he undertakes as president of China.
Zuma said that China and South Africa had agreed to work towards a more equitable trade balance so that both nations benefited from the growth in trade between them.
A joint working group on trade statistics has been established under the China-South Africa Bi-National Commission in order to address the trade imbalance.