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China, South Africa to Enhance Exchanges, Cooperation

China will work with South Africa to promote bilateral relations, said China's top legislator Wu Bangguo and Premier Wen Jiabao in Beijing Tuesday at separate meetings with South African Vice-President Jacob Zuma.

Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress (NPC), said the NPC will enhance exchanges and cooperation with the National Assembly and National Council of the Provinces of South Africa.

He said China and South Africa have enjoyed fast, comprehensive development of bilateral relations since the establishment of diplomatic relations more than six years ago. The two sides have formed a strategic partnership of equality, mutual benefit and common development.

Cooperation has been fruitful in the fields of politics, trade, economy, culture, education and technology, Wu said, adding that the NPC and the National Assembly of South Africa have set up sound cooperative relations and played an important role in promoting bilateral friendly cooperation.

Zuma said China's development experience sets a good example for other developing countries. His current visit aims to exchange experience of economic development with Chinese leaders, and learn from each other.

The development of South Africa-China relations is not only in the interests of the two peoples, but also conducive to south-south cooperation, he said.

Premier Wen said China attaches great importance to its relations with South Africa.

Wen said recently, South Africa recognized China's market economy status, and China and the Southern African Customs Union announced the start of free trade negotiations.

The two sides should seize the opportunity to promote trade and economic cooperation, Wen said.

Zuma expressed appreciation for the support of the Chinese government and people for South African's efforts to seek freedom and develop its economy.

He said the South African government and people treasure the existing friendship and are committed to consolidating and developing relations.

Zuma started his five-day official visit to China Sunday as guest of Chinese Vice-President Zeng Qinghong.

(Xinhua News Agency September 29, 2004)

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