China and South Africa join hands to build a high-level community with a shared future

Chen Xiaodong is Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to South Africa.

Chen Xiaodong is Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to South Africa.

Published Aug 11, 2023


Chen Xiaodong

As developing countries with significant influence in the world, China and South Africa share a special bond of "comradeship plus brotherhood". Our friendship was forged during the fight against imperialism, colonialism and racism, and has deepened in the process of win-win cooperation and common development.

This year marks the 25th anniversary of the diplomatic ties between China and South Africa. Over the past 25 years, our relations have made a significant leap from partnership to strategic partnership and to comprehensive strategic partnership, and have become a model for China-Africa relations and South-South cooperation.

In recent years, under the leadership of President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa, our comprehensive strategic partnership has continued to move forward with higher quality, in a wider range and at a deeper level.

With the two heads of state steering the ship, strategic mutual trust has continued to deepen.

President Xi Jinping and President Ramaphosa have met, spoke on phone and exchanged letters dozens of times.

They have jointly attended multilateral meetings such as the BRICS Summit, the G20 Summit, and the CPC in Dialogue with World Political Parties High-level Meeting. They have co-chaired the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation and the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against Covid-19, and have reached broad consensus on deepening the China-South Africa and China-Africa relations, as well as the solidarity and cooperation among developing countries.

In June this year, the two heads of state agreed in a phone call to upgrade our relations and jointly build a high-level China-South Africa community with a shared future.

The two countries understand and support each other on issues involving each other's core interests and major concerns. South Africa has repeatedly reaffirmed its firm commitment to the one-China principle.

The two countries have signed the Ten-Year Strategic Plan for China-South Africa Co-operation (2020-2029), which offers overall guidelines for our relations under the new circumstances.

With highlights in economy, trade and investment, pragmatic cooperation has continued to expand.

In the first half of this year, our bilateral trade grew by 11.7% year-on-year to $28.25 billion. China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years, and South Africa is one of the largest investment destinations for Chinese enterprises in Africa.

Chinese investment in South Africa has totalled more than 25 billion dollars, creating over 400 000 jobs for South Africa. China has responded positively to South Africa's new investment drive, by encouraging over 60 Chinese companies to attend the fifth South Africa Investment Conference in April this year and announcing new intended investment of nearly R15 billion.

Cooperation under the nine programs for China-Africa cooperation, including the small harbour feasibility studies, the poverty alleviation pilot village project, and the Mzimvubu River water project, are gaining speed in South Africa.

China feels for the pain of South African people as they suffer from power shortages. It has provided South Africa with emergency power equipment, and organised the China-South Africa New Energy Investment and Co-operation Conference to expand new energy investment and cooperation between the two sides.

With cultural exchanges more and more frequent, our peoples’ hearts have been brought closer.

China and South Africa have established the first high-level people-to-people exchange mechanism between China and Africa.

The third meeting of the PPEM mechanism was successfully held in Cape Town in February this year, ushering in a new prospect for people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

China listed South Africa as one of the first batch of selected countries to receive Chinese tourists as China resumed outbound group travel at the beginning of this year.

As a result, a large number of Chinese tourists have come to South Africa to enjoy the country’s beautiful scenery. South Africa is home to the largest number of Confucius Institutes and Confucius Classrooms in Africa. It has incorporated the Chinese language into its national education system, and South Africans are ever more passionate about learning the Chinese language and understanding the Chinese culture.

In May this year, the Chinese national table tennis team came to Durban to participate in the World Table Tennis Championships Finals and achieved great results, which set off a "table tennis craze" in South Africa.

With close coordination in the multilateral arena, China and South Africa are at the forefront of unity and collaboration.

We share the same or similar views on development, security and international order, and have broad consensus on major international and regional issues.

We practice true multilateralism and jointly uphold fairness and justice in the world. South Africa is an active supporter of China's Global Security Initiative, Global Development Initiative and Global Civilization Initiative.

China fully supports South Africa in assuming the BRICS rotating presidency, and in playing a leading role in African affairs and a greater role in international affairs.

The two countries have worked closely with each other on multilateral occasions like the United Nations and the G20, to firmly safeguard the common interests of developing countries.

In late August, South Africa will host the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg.

President Ramaphosa has officially invited President Xi Jinping to attend the summit and pay a state visit to South Africa. Under the new circumstances, China-South Africa relations are at a new historical starting point and facing new historical opportunities.

China stands ready to join hands with South Africa. Under the joint leadership of the two heads of state, we will continue to deepen our political mutual trust, and expand friendly exchanges and practical cooperation in the fields of economy, trade and people-to-people exchanges, to further enhance our comprehensive strategic partnership, and to jointly embark on a new journey to build a high-level China-South Africa community with a shared future.

Chen Xiaodong is Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to South Africa.