Media Remarks by President Cyril Ramaphosa on the occasion of the State Visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Union Buildings, Tshwane, 22 August 2023
Your Excellency President Xi Jinping,
Ambassadors from China and South Africa,
Members of delegations,
Members of the media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
South Africa is honoured to receive President Xi Jinping on his fourth State Visit to South Africa.
This visit coincides with 25 years of diplomatic relations between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China.
We are grateful for the support and friendship that China has provided as we have worked to rebuild and transform our country after the devastation of apartheid.
We recall with gratitude the solidarity demonstrated by China during the COVID-19 pandemic when it supplied much-needed equipment, materials and vaccines to African countries.
During this State Visit, South Africa and China have reaffirmed political support for each other’s core interests.
We also agreed to deepen bilateral cooperation in trade, investment, infrastructure development, energy, tourism, education and training, and digital technologies.
China is South Africa’s largest trading partner and South Africa is China’s biggest trading partner in Africa.
We have discussed the need to narrow the trade deficit between South Africa and China, and that one of the ways to do this is by ensuring greater market access for value-added South African export goods into the Chinese market.
On multilateral cooperation, President Xi and I have agreed to consult closely on issues of common concern, including in the context of BRICS, the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), the G77 plus China, and the G20.
We have discussed areas of synergy in line with the call by South Africa and other African countries for the reform of institutions of global governance, notably the United Nations Security Council.
We agree that the interests of the Global South must be fairly represented on all multilateral fora.
President Xi and I discussed the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine and its significant impact on developing economies in Africa and elsewhere.
We both agreed on the importance of dialogue and negotiation between the two sides. As South Africa, we are encouraged that President Xi has welcomed the peace mission to Russia and Ukraine initiated by African leaders.
President Xi and I look forward to the upcoming BRICS Summit and have agreed that BRICS must play an expanded role in global affairs.
President Xi and I will be co-chairing a China-Africa Leaders’ Roundtable on the sidelines of this State Visit.
The purpose of this roundtable is to further deepen cooperation between China and the African continent on the development, industrialisation and integration of African economies.
We are gratified that the friendship between the People’s Republic of China and South Africa has endured.
The friendship that exists between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China is living proof of what is set out in the Freedom Charter, which is the forerunner of the South African Constitution, which declared that: “There shall be Peace and Friendship.”
We look forward to a new era of even stronger ties, underpinned by our commitment to achieving common prosperity for our respective peoples and the Global South in general.
I thank you.
Issued by: The Presidency