President Zuma lauds China visit
Pretoria, 6 December 2014 – His Excellency President Jacob Zuma has characterised his State Visit to the People’s Republic of China as a tremendous and fruitful success following official talks with his Chinese counterpart, His Excellency President Xi Jinping during the two day visit in Beijing, China. The President has returned to South Africa today, 6 December 2014.
President Zuma said the positive outcomes of the visit were a true reflection of the strong deepening bilateral, trade and investment relations between South Africa and China.
“The visit has significantly strengthened our relations with China who are ready to work with South Africa to effectively implement all the plans and agreements that we have signed, particularly the 5 to 10 Year Framework on Cooperation which aims to further enhance the implementation of the outcomes of the Bi-National Commission and the Inter-ministerial Joint Working Group established recently” said the President.
“During the visit we have signed several agreements that will deepen our relations and President Xi Jinping and his government declared that China was ready to invest and work with South Africa in various sectors such as infrastructure development, ocean and green economies, science and technology, agriculture, environment, finance and other important sectors to ensure that we achieve the objectives of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” the President said.
President Zuma said during the official talks with the Chinese leadership, the two governments had positive discussions on various issues affecting the African continent particularly the Ebola epidemic, infrastructure development as well as peace and security.
Addressing the South Africa-China Business Forum, President Zuma expressed his gratitude to the Government of China for the role it played in supporting Africa to combat the Ebola crisis through the provision of 129 million US dollars aid in support, including financial and human resources to fight this cruel epidemic.
“This means that China shares our view that Ebola is not an African problem but a global challenge that requires a serious response by the world at large,” the President said.
He further encouraged the business sector to work together in realizing the goals of the comprehensive strategic partnership framework.
“It is with great pleasure that we welcome the government to government as well as private sector agreements entered into during this visit. The conclusion of these agreements is directly linked to our collective objectives, as laid out in the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which guides our bilateral engagements. The private sector agreements reflect progress in the drive to deliver on our mandate to eradicate unemployment and reduce poverty and inequality in South Africa,” the President said.
China has also declared its readiness to work with African countries to enrol sustainable infrastructure programmes such as roads, railways and other strategic economic programmes which will create a conducive trade environment in the region.
During the official talks, the two Heads of State also discussed matters relating to peace and security in Africa and other regions, President Xi Jinping declared that China was prepared to assist the African Union in its peacekeeping missions and was ready to discharge resources to the continent’s peacekeeping mechanisms particularly the African rapid response forces.
The BRICS New Development Bank was also discussed during the official talks, and both parties agreed on the establishment and operationalisation of the BRICS New Development Bank as soon as possible.
“South Africa is keen to ensure that the Bank’s African Regional Centre provides further impetus to the strategic relationship that was forged between the BRICS and African leadership in 2013 in Durban, to enhance economic development for the continent. We will cooperate with China to ensure that the Shanghai Headquarters and the African Regional Centre in South Africa are established as per agreed timelines. We have prioritised the ratification of the agreement establishing the Bank. South Africa has also instituted committees to make the African Regional Centre operational,” he added.
“It should be noted that the New Development Bank comes to Africa at an opportune moment where Africa is promoting regional integration and cross-border trade and investment,” President Zuma said.
The President said measures to promote industrialization and regional integration include the relaxation of customs and tax regulations that will assist with expediting and facilitating the movement of goods and services within the region.
During the visit President Zuma was honoured with the Honorary Professorship by the Tsinghua University where he delivered a Lecture under theme: “20 Years of Freedom and Democracy and the legacy of late former President Nelson Mandela”.
Addressing the academics and students on the historical relations between South Africa and China, President Zuma said both countries should continue to promote President Nelson Mandela’s legacy, ideals, humanity, values and his commitment to the notion of a free, united democratic and prosperous society.
“It is with the memory of the vision of Nelson Mandela that we wish to also achieve the ideal of a better Africa and to contribute to building a better world.
“We once again thank the international community for the immense support we received during the sad period of President Mandela’s passing last year. We were strengthened by this support and solidarity,” the President said.
President Zuma also encouraged young people from South Africa and China to work together and learn from each other to enhance and preserve the long friendship and partnership that the two countries established many years ago.
He said South Africa will continue to work with China in the fields of education, research, industrialization and skills development to capacitate young people and create sustainable jobs.
President Zuma and his delegation of Ministers also attended the cultural closing ceremony of 2014 South Africa Year in China where the President told the attendees that the hosting of that significant event by the Chinese was a crucial milestone in the history of people-to-people relations.
During this year South Africa was able to showcase its economic, political and cultural achievements since the end of apartheid to the people of China.
“The year has yielded business and development opportunities and provided a platform to demonstrate South Africa’s innovation and best practices in a multitude of disciplines, including science and technology, mining, arts and culture, and tourism,” President Zuma said.
President Zuma was accompanied by Ms Maite Nkoana-Mashabane, Minister of International Relations and Cooperation; Mr Jeff Radebe, Minister in the Presidency; Mr Nhlanhla Nene, Minister of Finance; Mr Rob Davies, Minister of Trade and Industry; Ms Edna Molewa, Minister of Environmental Affairs; Ms Dipuo Peters, Minister of Transport as well as Mr Senzeni Zokwana, Minister of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries.
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Issued by Department of Communications on behalf of The Presidency