President Hu Jintao arrived in Pretoria on Tuesday for a state visit, which is aimed at enhancing the long-term and stable strategic partnership between China and South Africa.
Hu arrived here from Windhoek after his state visit to Namibia. In Pretoria, he will hold talks with South African President ThaboMbeki on expanding mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries.
In a written statement released at the airport, Hu said that the new South Africa, since its founding, has made remarkable achievements in national reconciliation and economic and social development.
"As an advocate for African renaissance and a promoter of South-South cooperation and South-North dialogue, South Africa has made important contributions to peace and development in Africa and the whole world," he said.
Hu said that in the long years when the South African people were fighting apartheid, the Chinese people always stood by their side.
In nearly 10 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, the China-South Africa strategic partnership, which is based on equality and mutual benefit for common development has steadily grown in depth, according to the Chinese president.
And these have been promoted by frequent exchange of high-level visits, fruitful and mutually beneficial cooperation and sound coordination and collaboration in international and regional affairs, Hu added.
China and South Africa are major countries in Asia and Africa respectively and both are important developing countries.
"To strengthen and develop our bilateral ties not only benefits our two peoples but also helps facilitate solidarity and cooperation among developing countries and promote peace and development in the world," he said.
China and South Africa set up diplomatic ties in January 1998. Since then, relations between the two countries have developed rapidly.
The two countries have established a strategic partnership and cooperated fruitfully in politics, trade and economy, science and technology, culture, education, tourism and human resources.
Last November, South African President Thabo Mbeki paid a state visit to China and attended the Beijing Summit of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC). During his visit, President Mbeki met President Hu and took part in talks on furthering bilateral ties.
The two presidents reached an extensive consensus on enhancing their countries' long-term and stable strategic partnership on the basis of equality, mutual benefit and common development.
Hu is on an eight-nation tour of Africa that has already taken him to Cameroon, Liberia, Sudan, Zambia, Namibia, before South Africa, and will also take him to Mozambique and the Seychelles.
(Xinhua News Agency February 7, 2007)