China's Vice Premier Liu Yandong views an exhibition at the Confucius Institute at the Durban University of Technology. Picture: Motshwari Mofokeng

Durban – The partnership between South Africa and China can help contribute to the civilisations of the world.

This was the sentiment of Chinese Vice Premier of the State of Council of China, Liu Yandong, who was in Durban on Wednesday.

The Vice Premier said cooperation between South Africa and China was strengthened by the fact that both countries were deeply rooted in culture.

“With the establishment of the people-to- people, we can join hands, further promote development and our cooperation in other areas. People-to- people exchange covers education, culture, science and technology, think tanks, media, tourism, youth and women. Together the countries could help contribute to the civilisations of the world,” she said.

The Vice Premier was at the Durban University of Technology (DUT) on Wednesday, just days after the launch of a people-to- people exchange mechanism(PPEM), the first with an African country.

She was hosted by the Confucius Institute at DUT, headed by Dr Eddie Chaobo Fu.

The institute provides Chinese cultural and language teaching resources around the world.

With five Confucius Institutes at universities around the county, South Africa also had the most number in Africa.

“They help local people to study the Chinese language and learn about the Chinese culture and enhance the friendship and understanding between our two peoples. We are happy to see that over the passed four years, and thanks to our joint efforts, here we have carried out nearly 100 different kinds of cultural exchange and promotion programmes and events,” said Liu.

“Civilisation is like water that nurtures everything in science. The world is defined by the diversity of civilisation and the mutual learning and exchanges of civilisations has been driving the promotion and development of mankind.”

DUT Vice Chancellor Professor Thandwa Mthembu said: “We trust the relationship between South Africa and China will continue to grow into one with

strategic significance and global influence especially as part of the BRICS family,” said Mthembu.

Deputy Minister of Higher Education and Training Mduduzi Manana said bilateral relations between the two countries were at an all time high.

Manana said the bilateral agreement on higher education signed at the launch of people-to-people exchange opened the door for student exchanges, scholarships, expert and academic exchanges all aimed at sharing of knowledge and experiences both academically and culturally.

The Mercury