South Africa and China have agreed to enhance cooperation in five key areas including politics, the economy and trade as well as people-to-people exchanges.
This comes after various agreements were reached at the sixth plenary session of the China-South Africa Bi-National Commission (BNC), which was chaired by Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and Chinese Vice President Li Yuanchao in Cape Town.
The commission received and deliberated on reports of the sectoral committees on foreign relations, trade and investment, science and technology, mining, energy and education.
“They also reviewed the progress made with regard to South Africa-China relations over the past three years and identified the way forward for the continuously expanding bilateral relations,” the two countries said in a joint communique issued on Tuesday.
Since its establishment in 2000, the China-South Africa Bi-National Commission has played an active role in facilitating bilateral cooperation in important areas.
The BNC provided the opportunity to assess where there is a need to further expand the areas of cooperation with regard to the sectoral committees such as ocean’s economy and agriculture.
“The two countries will maintain close communication on major issues including global economic and financial governance, climate change, cyber security, counter-terrorism and counter-transnational organised crimes as well as human rights,” said the two countries.
China and South Africa will also support each other in hosting the BRICS Summit in 2017 and 2018 respectively.
The BNC witnessed the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between the Department of Trade and Industry and the Ministry of Commerce regarding Co-Operation on Special Economic Zones and Industrial Parks and the Framework Agreement between the National Development and Reform Commission of China and the Department of Trade and Industry for Developing Cooperation on Production Capacity.
Furthermore, both countries noted the importance of President Jacob Zuma’s state visit to China in 2014 which resulted in the adoption of the “Five- to Ten-Year Strategic Programme for Cooperation” with the aim to further deepen South Africa-China’s collaboration within the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
The programme highlighted the important areas of cooperation, which included areas such as the acceleration of South Africa’s industrialisation process; Special Economic Zones (SEZs); marine cooperation; infrastructure development; human resource cooperation; and financial cooperation.
They also noted President Xi Jinping’s state visit in 2015 which saw the signing of several agreements and the adoption of a roadmap during the Johannesburg Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
The FOCAC Summit reinforced China’s commitment to the entire African continent in addressing our developmental needs-in particular, South Africa has identified crucial projects that will change the lives of many South Africans.
Both countries agreed that the sharing of cultural activities, including exchanges and knowledge-sharing with their counterparts elsewhere in the world, is an important aspect of relations.
As such, the two countries have initiated the South Africa-China High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism, which will lead to the further strengthening of a mutual understanding between the people of South Africa and China and create opportunities that would otherwise not have existed.
Source: Allafrica.com | Dec 21