China is fully confident about the future of trade and economic cooperation with South Africa, a senior official of the Communist Party of China (CPC) said Cape Town Saturday.
Li Changchun, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee, made the remark in a speech at a dinner party held Saturday evening by the local business community in this port city of South Africa.
He said in the speech that it is the right time to strengthen cooperation between China and South Africa. Bilateral trade reached US$5.9 billion in 2004, registering an increase of 52.8 percent over the previous year.
He predicts that bilateral trade is likely to top seven billion dollars this year. The two economies are highly complementary and share great potential of cooperation.
Noting that both China and South Africa are developing countries that have important influence in their own regions, Li said the two countries face the common tasks of strengthening South-South cooperation and accelerating the development of developing countries.
He said China-South Africa cooperation consists of an important factor for advancing China-Africa friendship and promoting cooperation and self-dependence of developing countries.
He said cooperation between China and South Africa enjoys a solid political foundation. Though the two countries are far apart, the two peoples are emotionally linked as common tasks and goals join them closely together.
He said since the two countries established diplomatic relations, bilateral relations have been growing smoothly and bilateral cooperation in various fields fruitful.
The CPC and Chinese government appreciate the support that South Africa gives to China on the Taiwan issue and other issues concerning the core interests of China.
"We are fully confident about the prospect of trade and economic cooperation between China and South Africa," Li said.
He said since China began reform and opening up to the outside world 27 years ago, the country has seen huge changes. The Chinese economy has grown at an average annual rate of 9.4 percent for many consecutive years, greatly enhancing national power of China.
He noted that development in both urban and rural areas of China has been fast, with the living standards of the people improved and the population of poor people greatly reduced.
He also noted that China has improved its international status. It has become the fastest growing economy in the world, as well as the third largest trade body and third largest owner of foreign exchange reserves.
It is especially important that China has already found the right route of development, which suits the real conditions of the country and has Chinese characteristics.
However, Li pointed out that China is still a low-income developing country that faces such problems and challenges as imbalance development among different regions and lack of innovative capacity.
The Chinese leadership has always kept a cool mind on this reality, he added.
He emphasized that the route of peaceful development that China pursues is a natural choice made according to the real conditions of the country, its historical and cultural tradition and the current trend of the world.
He said the Chinese people is fully aware that sustainable development can only be achieved through peaceful means since such a way of development is in the interest of both the Chinese people and people around the world.
He said peaceful development means that China will strive to create a peaceful international environment for its own development, while promote world peace with its own development.
China will always be a force for maintaining world peace and promoting common development, he said.
He said China will mainly rely on its own strength to achieve development through reform and innovations. In the meantime, China will stick to the national policy of opening up to the outside world so as to achieve mutual benefits and win-win results by cooperating and exchanging with other countries.
He pointed out that China had been much bullied by Western powers in its modern history. Therefore, China shares the feelings of other developing countries that had similar fate. President Hu Jintao put forward five suggestions to support developing countries to accelerate development at the UN summit marking the 60 anniversary of the founding of the UN.
He said the suggestions show the political will and determination of China to do all it can to support and help developing countries accelerate development and build a harmonious world of prolonged peace and common prosperity.
He called for the business circles of South Africa to seize the current opportunity in expanding China-South Africa cooperation.
He expressed the hope that more and more friends from South Africa will participate in the cause of strengthening friendship and expanding cooperation between China and South Africa.
Business leaders and senior executives from more than 10 renowned companies in South Africa, including MIH, attended the dinner party and made positive response to Li's speech.
(Xinhua News Agency November 21, 2005)