New Chinese ambassador Chen Xiaodong arrives in Pretoria
Pretoria - Former assistant foreign minister Chen Xiaodong has arrived in Pretoria to take the reins at the embassy as Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to South Africa.
The position became vacant when former ambassador of China to South Africa Lin Songtian was recalled to Beijing in March, before international travel was globally put on hold amid the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chen, who has previously visited South Africa as a Chinese government official, said his new position as Beijing’s sixth ambassador to South Africa was an “honour”.
“In the context of profound changes in the international situation and the Covid-19 pandemic unseen in a century, it is more imperative than ever for China and South Africa to strengthen solidarity and co-operation,” said Chen on his arrival in Pretoria.
“As the new Chinese ambassador to South Africa at this special juncture, I am keenly aware of my responsibility and mission.
“I will do my utmost to fulfil my duties by working with friends from all walks of life in South Africa to strive for greater progress in China-South Africa relations.”
Chen said in his previous job as China’s assistant foreign minister responsible for African affairs, he was involved in and witnessed the “sound and rapid development” of China-South Africa and China-Africa relations in all fields.
“President Xi Jinping co-chaired the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Co-operation and successfully exchanged visits with President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018,” said Chen.
“In June, the two heads of state jointly hosted the Extraordinary China-Africa Summit on Solidarity against Covid-19. They have also met many times on other bilateral and multilateral occasions and mapped out the blueprint for the development of China-South Africa and China-Africa relations.”
African News Agency (ANA)