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Speech at the Reception for the 10th Anniversary of China-South Africa Diplomatic Relations and Opening Ceremony of Pictures Exhibition on 2008 Beijing Olympic Games

2008-04-14

  By Mr. Liu Yantao, Consul General of P.R. China in Durban 

    April 12, 2008

Your Majesty the King,

Your Honorable Premier Ndebele,

Your Honorable MEC for Education Mrs. Ina Cronje,

Your Honorable Deputy Mayor Mr. Logie Naidoo,

Colleagues from Durban Consular Corps,

Distinguished guests,

Ladies and gentlemen:

Today, we get together here with joy and excitement, to celebrate the 10th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic relations.

As we know, on January 1st, 1998, the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa formally established diplomatic relations. During the past 10 years, under both sides' great efforts, China-South Africa friendship has been deepened, political trust has been continuously strengthened, bilateral relations have witnessed an all-round and sound development, and the two sides have established a Strategic Partnership of Equality, Mutual-benefit and Common Development. China-South African relationship has become one of the most important bilateral relations between China and African countries as well as that between China and major developing countries.

During the past 10 years, high-level visits have been conducted frequently and areas of cooperation have been greatly broadened. In June 2006, Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao visited South Africa, and signed the Program of Cooperation on Deepening the Strategic Partnership between China and South Africa. In February 2007, Chinese President Hu Jintao visited South Africa, promoting the China-South Africa strategic partnership up to a new step. In September, South Africa Deputy President Mrs. Mlambo-Ngcuka visited China. The Bi-National Commission announced the Joint Communiqué, emphasizing the two sides will work for a Partnership for Growth and Development.

During the past 10 years, China and South Africa enjoyed a rapid growth of bilateral trade and economic cooperation, which benefited people of both countries. In 2007, the bilateral trade volume reached a total of 14.04 billion US Dollars, 8 times more than that in 1998. Last year, the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China invested 5.46 billion US Dollars in Standard Bank, which became the largest ever investment from China to Africa. Meantime, vibrant exchanges in civil, cultural, academic and media areas have also contributed to the mutual understanding of the two peoples.  

Meanwhile, cooperation and exchanges have been greatly enhanced between KwaZulu-Natal and China. In December 2006, the Honorable Premier Ndebele paid a visit to China. In March 2007, the former Party Secretary of Jiangsu Province visited KwaZulu-Natal, signing a MOU with KwaZulu-Natal. In November, the Vice-Chairman of Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference successfully visited KwaZulu-Natal. During the past 10 years, 5 Sister Provinces and Cities and 1 Sister Port have been established between the two sides. The Dry-land Rice, Juncao Mushroom and Ganoderma programs between Fujian Province and KwaZulu-Natal are successfully implemented and promoted, which indeed bring benefit to local farmers, and have become a model of China-South Africa cooperation. More and more Chinese companies and overseas are investing and setting up branches in KwaZulu-Natal, which boosts the development of local economy and commercial ties with China. At present, two schools in KwaZulu-Natal are planning to set up educational links with two schools in Beijing, and mutual visits and exchanges will take place this year. In the coming June, at the invitation of eThekwini Municipality, a football team from Guangzhou city will join in the "One Nation Cup" in Durban. As the Honorable Premier said in the State of the Province Address, cooperation and exchanges between KwaZulu-Natal and China is bearing fruits, with great potential for future cooperation. The Chinese side is confident about that as well.

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic ties, both sides are planning a series of celebrations for this event. Presidents and Foreign Ministers of our two countries exchanged their messages of congratulation on January 1st this year. Chinese Foreign Minister paid a successful visit to South Africa in early January. On 27th March, a grand Chinese unearthed cultural heritage exhibition Treasures of China was launched in the National Cultural History Museum in Pretoria, which is co-hosted by State Administration of Cultural Heritage of China and the Department of Arts and Culture of South Africa. In April, a series of celebrating activities under the theme of South African Week will be held by the South African side in Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou and Hong Kong of China. South Africa Foreign Minister Dlamini-Zuma will lead a delegation to attend these activities. The Honorable MEC for Education Mrs. Cronje and MEC for Art, Culture and Tourism Mrs. Thusi will visit China with the Delegation. Besides, His Majesty the King is planning to visit China the later half of this year. I wish all these visits are successful and fruitful, promoting further exchanges and cooperation between KwaZulu-Natal and China.

The year of 2008 is not only the 10th anniversary of China-South Africa diplomatic ties, but also the Olympic year for China and the whole world. The century-old dream of the Chinese nation to host the Olympic Games has become a reality. To carry forward the Olympic spirit, promote friendship and understanding between people in China and the world, and hold high level Olympics with distinguishing features are the wishes of all Chinese people and also a commitment of China to the world.

 On March 31st, the Olympic torch relay, symbolizing peace, friendship and progress was launched in Beijing Tian'anmen square and is on a Journey of Harmony across five continents in the world. It will show the world the Chinese people's eager anticipation, involvement and devotion to the games, inspire enthusiasm from the world people for the Olympic spirit, and provide them a common understanding of the theme "One World, One Dream". The dream is peace and progress, harmonious development, living in amity, cooperation and mutual benefit, and enjoying a happy life.

Currently, the preparation work of Beijing Olympics is proceeding smoothly. All 37 Olympic Competition Venues have already been completed. Bearing the concepts of "Green Olympics, High-tech Olympics and People's Olympics", the Chinese government and people will endeavor to host the 2008 Olympic Games, and warmly welcome the athletes and friends from all over the world.

Now, South Africa is preparing for the 2010 FIFA World Cup in all fields. We hope China and South Africa can strengthen exchanges and learn from each other in hosting large-scale international competitions, and we hope South Africa successfully host the 2010 World Cup.

On this occasion, I am honored to announce the official opening of Pictures Exhibition on Beijing Olympic Games in KwaZulu-Natal, of which the theme is "Welcome to Beijing". After this opening ceremony, the Consulate General will work with eThekwini municipal government and other departments concerned to arrange exhibitions for the public, letting people of KwaZulu-Natal know more about Beijing Olympics and modern China.

I'd like to say today's reception is indeed a high-level function, attended by the most important guests in KwaZulu-Natal. Your attendance to this reception shows the great importance you have attached to the China-South Africa relationship and the supports to the Beijing Olympic Games. I feel so much honored and moved, and I want to send my sincere thanks to all of you.

At last, I wish China-South Africa friendship and cooperation flourish forever,

wish the Beijing Olympic Games a big success,

wish the South Africa team all the best at Beijing Olympic Games.

I thank you.

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