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China, S Africa Pledge to Develop Ties from Strategic Perspective
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China and South African agreed on Tuesday to view and develop bilateral ties from a strategic perspective and push forward their strategic partnership based on equality, mutual benefit and common development.


Visiting President Hu Jintao and his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki held talks in Pretoria on Tuesday afternoon, at which they reached broad consensus on future development of bilateral relations.


Hu said China firmly stood alongside the South African people during their struggle against apartheid and that the Chinese-South African ties have enjoyed fast, multi-facet and all-round growth since the two countries established diplomatic ties 10 years ago.


The two countries have had fruitful bilateral cooperation in economy and trade, science and technology, education, culture, tourism and justice, he noted.


Hu expressed China's appreciation for South Africa's adherence to the one-China policy and its support for China's reunification cause.


During the talks, Hu put forward a five-point proposal for further promoting China-South Africa ties, including ways of boosting political mutual trust, deepening economic and trade cooperation, expanding the scope of bilateral cooperation, increasing people-to-people contacts and intensifying multilateral cooperation.


To build up political mutual trust, Hu suggested that the leaders of the two countries keep frequent contacts and have in-depth exchanges of views on major bilateral and global issues through both bilateral and multilateral channels.


On economic and trade cooperation, Hu suggested that both sides optimize trade structures and create an environment conducive to the healthy growth in bilateral trade.


He also proposed to explore ways to expand cooperation in vocational training, Chinese language teaching, infrastructure, mining, energy, information technology and crackdown on crimes.


To boost people-to-people contacts, Hu announced that the Chinese government will invite 500 young people from South Africa and other African nations to visit China in the next three years.


On international issues, Hu proposed that both countries enhance multilateral cooperation and safeguard common interests and said bilateral cooperation should also be enhanced within the framework of the UN and other multilateral organizations.


Expressing his appreciation for the endeavors made by South Africa to resolve internal conflicts in Africa, Hu said China will continue to support and participate in peacekeeping operations in the region.


For his part, Mbeki said South Africa and China have established a solid friendly and cooperative relationship and both countries share the resolve to enhance their bilateral strategic partnership.


Through concerted efforts of both sides, the South African-Chinese relationship will be further consolidated and developed, Mbeki noted, adding that he fully agreed with Hu's proposals to advance the strategic partnership between the two countries.


Economically, China is one of South Africa's most important partners; politically, the consultation and cooperation with China is an asset to South Africa in meeting various challenges, he stressed.


China's attention to and cooperation with Africa is of great significance for the rejuvenation of the African continent, he said.


Mbeki hoped that both sides will deepen cooperation in the areas of trade, investment, technology, agriculture and natural resources, and increase people-to-people contacts.


He applauded China's determination and actions to implement measures adopted at the Beijing Summit of the Forum of China-Africa Cooperation last November, saying the African people have been encouraged by China's follow-up moves.


After the talks, Hu and Mbeki witnessed the signing of five documents on bilateral cooperation in economy and technology, plant quarantine and other fields.


Hu arrived in Pretoria earlier Tuesday from the Namibian capital of Windhoek for a three-day state visit to South Africa.


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


(Xinhua News Agency February 7, 2007)

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