Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his fourth state visit to the Republic of South Africa immediately before the country hosted the BRICS Summit.
Meeting his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa in the capital Pretoria on August 22, the two leaders agreed to work together to take the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership to new heights and to build a high-quality China-South Africa community with a shared future.
To this end, President Xi made four proposals:
- China and South Africa should be strategic partners with a high degree of mutual trust. Comradeship and brotherhood are inherent to the bilateral relationship.
- China and South Africa should be development partners making progress together. Mutual benefits and win-win are defining features of their cooperation.
- 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 and South Africa should be global partners with a commitment to justice. Independence is a principle upheld by both countries.
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.
The South African leader went on to say 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.
Following their talks, President Ramaphosa awarded Xi the Order of South Africa, his country’s highest honour for heads of state of friendly countries. The two leaders also witnessed the signing of various bilateral cooperation agreements, and the two sides also agreed a 15-point Joint Statement.
In a related report, the Xinhua News Agency, noted that: “Amidst Western media’s distorted reports accusing China of ‘colonising’ African nations, including South Africa, it is notable that South Africans describe their relationship with China as one of ‘comradeship’ and ‘brotherly friendship’.”
This sense of unity stems from China’s support to the South African people in fighting apartheid, and standing with the African National Congress (ANC) as comrades and friends, according to ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula. Apart from strong economic links, “it is a relationship that is formed by ties of anti-imperialism,” he said in an interview on the eve of the Chinese President’s visit.
President Xi’s visit is one of comradeship between the two presidents in strengthening this important relationship, which spans decades and decades, between the African National Congress and the Communist Party of China, he added.
Sifiso Mahlangu, editor-in-chief of South Africa’s leading newspaper, The Star, said that South Africa and China have an unbreakable bond:
“Our history dictates that China has been our friend. The Chinese people, the People’s Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China have been the friends of the South African people.”
The following articles were originally carried on the websites of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Xinhua News Agency.
President Xi Jinping Held Talks with President of South Africa Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 August 2023
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.
Xi awarded Order of South Africa
Xinhua, 23 August 2023
PRETORIA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — Chinese President Xi Jinping received the Order of South Africa from President Cyril Ramaphosa here on Tuesday.
The award ceremony came following Xi’s meeting with Ramaphosa during his state visit to South Africa, where he will also attend the 15th BRICS Summit and co-chair with Ramaphosa the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue.
The Order of South Africa is the highest decoration and the highest honor that South Africa awards to an important and friendly head of state.
Speaking at the ceremony, Xi said the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership has entered a “golden era,” as political mutual trust between the two sides continues to deepen, and mutually beneficial and practical cooperation in various fields has yielded fruitful results.
The two countries have maintained close coordination and cooperation in international affairs, which has effectively promoted their respective development and revitalization, and made positive contributions to safeguarding the common interests of developing countries, he noted.
Xi reiterated that no matter how the international situation changes, the two sides will remain committed to deepening bilateral friendly cooperation.
Noting that he will treasure the honor, which symbolizes the friendship between the two peoples, Xi pledged to unswervingly push for the continuous development of China-South Africa relations.
Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 23 August 2023
At the invitation of H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, paid a state visit to South Africa on 22 August 2023. The two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on China-South Africa relations, China-Africa cooperation, and regional and international affairs of mutual interest. They reached consensus on a series of important related issues.
1. The two sides spoke highly of the substantial growth of China-South Africa relations over the past 25 years since establishing diplomatic ties in 1998. They agreed that the bilateral relationship enjoys strong growth momentum, deepening political ties, enhanced economic engagement, flourishing technical cooperation, and fruitful people-to-people exchanges. Furthermore, the two sides maintain regular interaction and collaboration on multilateral occasions, which attests to the solid foundation of the China-South Africa friendship and the resilience of bilateral cooperation and demonstrates the increasingly strategic nature of the partnership. In the face of emerging global challenges, the two sides undertook to strengthen their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership henceforth, actively build a quality China-South Africa community, and play a meaningful, joint role in China-Africa relations and South-South cooperation.
2. The two sides reaffirmed their respect and support for each other’s sustainable social-economic development paths and just transitions. South Africa commended China’s impressive development achievements over the past decade, and believes that the Chinese path to modernization offers many lessons. South Africa expressed confidence that China will realize its second centenary goal of building the country into a great modern socialist state in all respects and advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through its path to modernization. China highly commended South Africa’s commitment to building a modern state, embracing diversity and inclusion, and expressed confidence that South Africa will continue to make new achievements in terms of its National Development Plan.
3. South Africa pledged continuous support for China on issues concerning its core interests and major concerns. South Africa reaffirmed its commitment to the one-China policy. China reiterates its respect and support for South Africa’s efforts to safeguard its national interests and social economic development and to better the livelihoods of its citizens. The two sides further agreed that Head-of-State diplomacy is particularly significant to developing China-South Africa relations. They agreed to maintain regular contact between the two heads of state to increase communication and coordination on major issues of mutual interest and chart the course for bilateral relations. The two sides agreed to leverage the role of structured bilateral mechanisms such as the Bi-National Commission (BNC), Strategic Dialogue (S.D.), the Regular Exchange Mechanism (REM) between the National People’s Congress of China and the National Assembly of South Africa, and the High-level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM) to deepen exchanges on governance and to promote people-to-people and sub-national interactions at various levels and across different fields to boost bilateral cooperation.
4. The two sides agreed that since its inception ten years ago, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a useful, mutually beneficial platform for international cooperation. The two sides will consider working towards bilateral cooperation and synergy within the BRI and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) frameworks. Both sides pledged to continue to seek the strengthening of cooperation in key areas such as infrastructure and logistics; trade and investment; manufacturing; agro-processing; energy and resources; the financial sector; the digital economy; science and technology, and green development.
5. The two sides recognized the important overall guiding role of the 10 Years Strategic Programme on Cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa (2020-2029) in bilateral cooperation in various fields. They agreed to continue to strengthen coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the Programme through the annual Strategic Dialogue and other mechanisms and to conduct regular reviews and assessments to ensure its timely, complete and effective implementation to promote mutual benefit and shared prosperity.
6. The two sides acknowledged the achievements of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, especially with China being South Africa’s largest global trading partner and South Africa being China’s largest trading partner in Africa. The two sides stand ready to further identify specific needs in terms of bilateral cooperation within the China-South Africa Joint Working Group (JWG) and the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETC), improve the current trade structure, address market access, enhance two-way investment, and to keep industrial and supply chains stable and secure. The two sides encouraged their respective business communities to explore creative ways further to expand two-way trade, increase their manufacturing bases within proximity of the relevant source of raw materials, improve the export of value-added goods from South Africa to China, increase the volume of export of high-quality South African agricultural exports to China and increase new investments in the manufacturing and assembly sector, the transfer of skills and technology, and to enhance local employment.
7. China undertook to continue to support South Africa in addressing its energy security challenges, both in respect of generation and transmission infrastructure, and to actively participate in the South Africa Investment Conferences and other such activities hosted by South Africa. South Africa will actively participate in the China International Import Expo, the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and support trade missions between the two countries. South Africa further welcomed the identification of South Africa amongst the top 20 countries for group tourism promotion by Chinese tourists. In this regard, South Africa supports the increase in the frequency of direct flights between South Africa and China.
8. The two sides highly value people-to-people, cultural exchanges, and mutual learning. They acknowledged the role of the High-level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism and expressed satisfaction with the mechanism’s meeting in Cape Town in February this year. The two sides reaffirmed the need to implement and further strengthen social exchanges and cooperation on poverty alleviation strategies; culture; women; youth; education; sport; health; the media; tourism; and other fields at the sub-national level to deepen mutual understanding and friendship, and to consolidate the social foundation of the bilateral relationship.
9. The two sides underscored the need to defend, promote and strengthen the multilateral response to Climate Change and undertake to work together for a successful outcome of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change(UNFCCC COP28) in the United Arab Emirates in December 2023.
10. The two sides agreed that BRICS cooperation is essential in achieving a more representative and equitable global governance order and promoting more inclusive global economic growth. The two sides agreed to continue supporting the development of BRICS in all three pillars of cooperation and to collaborate with all BRICS members to deepen practical cooperation in various fields and achieve progress in terms of BRICS membership expansion. China supports South Africa as BRICS Chair this year and the outreach to Africa and the Global South and wishes the 15th BRICS Summit success.
11. The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in international affairs and multilateral institutions, jointly uphold the UN-centred global system, an equitable international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations, based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, including to uphold the rights and interests of developing countries jointly and respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity. South Africa has taken note of the efforts taken by China to promote and foster relations between states predicated on inclusive multilateralism and applauded China for its leadership role in promoting peaceful global cooperation. China expressed its support for a more significant role for South Africa in the United Nations, the G20 and other multilateral mechanisms. China supports South Africa’s Presidency of the G20 in 2025. The two sides further agreed that dialogue and negotiation is the only viable option for resolving the Ukraine conflict, and they will continue to promote talks for peace and play a constructive role in the political settlement of the issue. Furthermore, China welcomed Africa’s recent Ukraine-Russia peace mission.
12. The two sides welcomed the achievements of China-Africa cooperation and fully recognised the critical role of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in advancing the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Africa. China also appreciates South Africa’s contribution to developing FOCAC and China-Africa relations. The two sides agreed to further strengthen consultation and coordination on FOCAC affairs to enhance implementation and practical cooperation in various fields under the Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024).
13. The two sides reiterated their resolve to further strengthen cooperation in terms of African affairs and to support the African Union in resolving African conflicts peacefully. China expressed its support for the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the African integration process, as well as the efforts of African countries and regional organisations under the auspices of the African Union (A.U.) to provide African solutions to African problems, including to support the A.U.’s early accession to membership of the G20. China supports the second ten-year implementation plan of AU Agenda 2063.
14. At the conclusion of the State Visit, the two leaders jointly witnessed the signing of several bilateral cooperation instruments.
15. The Chinese side expressed its appreciation to H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African Government and the people of South Africa for hosting H.E. President Xi Jinping for his 4th State Visit to South Africa.
China, S. Africa set to strengthen ties, amplifying Global South voices
Xinhua, 23 August 2023
PRETORIA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) — Amidst Western media’s distorted reports accusing China of “colonizing” African nations, including South Africa, it is notable that South Africans describe their relationship with China as one of “comradeship” and “brotherly friendship.”
Meanwhile, in face of numerous uncertainties and accelerating changes unseen in a century, as natural members of the Global South, China and South Africa’s relationship holds significant global sway due to their shared commitment to advancing the voices and interests of developing nations.
BROTHERLY FRIENDSHIP TESTED BY TIME
The sense of unity stemmed from China’s support to the South African people in fighting apartheid, and standing with the African National Congress (ANC) as comrades and friends, said ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula.
Apart from strong ties of economic relationship, “it is a relationship that is formed by ties of anti-imperialism,” said Mbalula in an interview with Xinhua on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to South Africa.
“President Xi’s visit is one of comradeship between the two presidents in strengthening this important relationship which spends decades and decades of years between the African National Congress and the Communist Party of China,” he added.
Xi arrived in South Africa on Monday to attend the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg and pay a state visit to South Africa.
In a meeting on Tuesday with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, Xi said that the key to the good relations between China and South Africa and their deep friendship lies in the fact that the two countries and the two parties share weal and woe on their respective development paths and have forged a profound friendship.
Ramaphosa described China as a sincere brother, friend and partner of his country, saying that China has provided valuable support to South Africa in the latter’s struggle for national independence and liberation as well as its national development. He also mentioned China’s timely support for his country during the COVID pandemic.
For Sifiso Mahlangu, editor-in-chief of South Africa’s leading newspaper, The Star, South Africa and China have an unbreakable bond.
“Our history dictates that China has been our friend. The Chinese people, the People’s Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China have been the friends of the South African people,” said Mahlangu.
BILATERAL TIES LIFTED TO NEW LEVEL
The state visit coincides with the two countries’ 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties and marks Xi’s fourth trip to South Africa as Chinese President.
Xi received the Order of South Africa from Ramaphosa on Tuesday. During their meeting, the two leaders agreed to push for greater development of the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era.
Dakota Legoete, a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, told Xinhua that he expected the South Africa-China win-win cooperation in terms of “economic development, people-to-people exchanges, and inter-countries relations to be strengthened.”
As the first African country to sign the Belt and Road cooperation document with China, South Africa has been China’s biggest trading partner in Africa for 13 years in a row, as well as one of the African countries with the largest stock of Chinese investment, which has risen to 10 billion U.S. dollars.
More than 200 Chinese companies in South Africa have created over 400,000 local jobs and South African companies are also racing to invest in the Chinese market to seize its abundant business opportunities.
With deepening trade relations between the two countries, South Africa’s wines, rooibos tea, and aloe vera gels are trending products in China. On Tuesday, Xi said that China is ready to import more quality products from South Africa and will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest and do business in South Africa.
The Belt and Road Initiative has also facilitated investment in South Africa’s infrastructure, including ports, railways, and roads. The improved transportation networks have enhanced trade within the country and strengthen its position as a regional trade hub.
MORE GLOBAL SOUTH EMPOWERED WITH MORE VOICES
China and South Africa must strengthen strategic coordination, practice genuine multilateralism and work to increase the representation and voice of the Global South countries in global governance, Xi said on Tuesday.
Xi’s remarks came as BRICS leaders set to meet in Johannesburg from Aug. 22 to 24 to discuss issues including deepening BRICS cooperation, giving more voice to the Global South, and the BRICS group’s expansion.
Xi and Ramaphosa will also co-chair the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue.
As a model for China-Africa relations, South-South cooperation, and unity and cooperation among emerging market countries, China-South Africa relationship has offered valuable experience for building an even stronger community with a shared future between China and Africa.
President Xi is advocating for building a multipolar world, instead of a “unipolar world of manipulation, of bullying others by one superpower,” said Legoete. “We would agree with President Xi on that.”
“That is what we would pursue as part of the outcomes of the BRICS Summit in South Africa,” said the South African official. “It is a benefit shared by all people in the world.”
The BRICS Summit in South Africa is being held “at a very critical time” when the global community is becoming “very divided and highly polarized,” said Anil Sooklal, South Africa’s BRICS Sherpa.
“The Global South continues to be marginalized … We continue to be ignored in terms of global decision-making, and yet the world has changed,” he said.
Today’s reality is distinct in the sense that “the Global South has risen, it is no longer impoverished, and it cannot be neglected on the global stage,” he said, calling BRICS “a catalyst to bring the Global South together.”
“It is for the first time in recent geopolitics that you have such a collective and a powerful body representing the voice of the Global South.”