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Chinese, S African Presidents Meet for Closer Ties
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Visiting President Hu Jintao and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki held talks in Pretoria on Tuesday on closer bilateral ties.


They were expected to discuss important international and regional issues during their talks.


In a written statement issued upon his arrival earlier in the day, President Hu said that he will have in-depth exchanges of views with Mbeki and other South African leaders on bilateral relations and international and regional issues of mutual interest."


"I am visiting South Africa to build on our past success to further deepen our cooperation and grow our bilateral relations in all areas," he said.


Hu said his visit will contribute to "further advancing the China-South Africa strategic partnership."


Before their talks, President Hu was extended a red-carpet welcome by Mbeki.


The two leaders will witness the signing of cooperation deals between the two countries and meet the press following their talks, according to the schedule.


On Wednesday, President Hu will deliver a speech at the University of Pretoria.


China and South Africa established diplomatic ties in January 1998. Since then, relations between the two countries have developed rapidly.


The two countries have established strategic partnership and cooperated fruitfully in politics, trade, economy, science, technology, culture, education, tourism and human resources.


In the first 11 months of 2006, bilateral trade volume reached US$8.83 billion, an increase of 34.5 percent compared with the same period of 2005.


South Africa is the sixth leg of Hu's eight-nation African tour, which has taken him to Cameroon, Liberia, Sudan, Zambia and Namibia. He will also visit Mozambique and the Seychelles.


(Xinhua News Agency February 7, 2007)

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