Working Together for a Closer and Stronger China-South Africa Community with a Shared Future
Remarks by H.E. Ambassador-designate Chen Xiaodong upon His Arrival in South Africa
24 September 2020
It is my great honor to be appointed as the sixth Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of South Africa. 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 cooperation. 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 fulfill my duties by working with friends from all walks of life in South Africa to strive for greater progress in China-South Africa relations.
Before assuming the post as the new Chinese Ambassador to South Africa, I was the Assistant Foreign Minister of China in charge of African affairs, and have been 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 Cooperation (FOCAC) and successfully exchanged visits with President Cyril Ramaphosa in 2018. In June this year, 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. Under the guidance of the two heads of state, the China-South Africa and China-Africa community with a shared future are getting even closer and stronger with China-South Africa and China-African relations becoming more substantial and their cooperation enjoying broader prospects.
I have visited South Africa many times and was deeply impressed by its unique and magnificent natural scenery, colorful and pluralistic cultures and the warm and friendly people. China and South Africa have forged a special bond of “comrades plus brothers” and our friendship has emerged stronger from our joint fight against imperialism, colonialism and racism, and from our pursuit of common development through solidarity and win-win cooperation. Since China and South Africa established diplomatic ties 22 years ago, our bilateral relations have made historic leaps forward from partnership, strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership.
China and South Africa enjoy profound political mutual trust as we always support each other on issues concerning our core interests and major concerns, maintain close coordination in international affairs, and join hands to safeguard the common interests of China, South Africa and other developing countries. China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 11 years in a row, and South Africa has been China’s largest trading partner in Africa for 10 consecutive years. According to rough statistics, China’s total investment in South Africa has exceeded $25 billion, creating more than 400,000 jobs for local people and giving a strong boost to South Africa’s economic and social development. Our cultural and people-to-people exchanges are getting closer and more frequent. We have established the first high-level people-to-people exchange mechanism between China and African countries. We have held the Year of China and the Year of South Africa in each other’s countries for the first time in the history of China-Africa relations. South Africa has attracted more Chinese tourists and established sister relations with more Chinese provinces and cities than any other Sub-Saharan African country. China has become an increasingly popular destination for South African students and tourists.
Since the outbreak of COVID-19, China and South Africa have been uniting and fighting as one against the epidemic, demonstrating the firm determination of our two countries to share weal and woe and tide over the difficult times together, and injecting strong positive energy into China-Africa and global anti-epidemic cooperation. President Xi Jinping and President Cyril Ramaphosa have exchanged letters, messages and telephone calls on many occasions to explore ways and means for China and African countries, including South Africa to defeat the virus together. The governments and peoples of our two countries have provided strong support and assistance to each other. The South African enterprises have made cash and in-kind donations to support China’s fight against the epidemic. The Chinese government and people from all sectors of society have donated millions of rand and a large number of anti-epidemic supplies including over 6 million masks and hundreds of thousands of testing reagents, ventilators and protective suits to South Africa. We will continue to provide assistance to South Africa in light of its actual needs. I am convinced that with the concerted efforts of China and South Africa, we will prevail over the pandemic and restore economic and social development as soon as possible so as to deliver more benefits to our two peoples.
As emerging markets and major developing countries, China and South Africa share the same or similar views on development, security, and the international order. We have reached broad consensus on major international and regional issues, and maintained close coordination and carried out fruitful cooperation under such international organizations and multilateral mechanisms as the United Nations, the G20, the BRICS, and the FOCAC. The China-South Africa relationship has become a role model for China-Africa relations, South-South cooperation and the solidarity and cooperation among emerging markets. It sets a good example for building a new type of international relations featuring mutual respect, fairness, justice and win-win cooperation and a community with a shared future for mankind.
Now China has become the first country to bring COVID-19 under effective control and restore economic growth. China has brought into full play the advantages of its huge market and the big potential of its domestic demand. We are now fostering a new and dual cycle development architecture with domestic development as the mainstay and domestic and international development reinforcing each other. We will open wider to the outside world, and share more of China’s development dividends with South Africa and other African countries, so as to drive the economic recovery and common development of Africa and the whole world through our own development, and expand and deepen the China-South Africa and China-Africa comprehensive strategic cooperation.
I look forward to working with friends from all walks of life in South Africa to implement the important consensus reached by the heads of state of our two countries, deepen our friendship and mutual trust, expand our practical cooperation and strengthen cultural and people-to-people exchanges so as to keep advancing our comprehensive strategic partnership.