Deputy Minister Pahad Concludes Visit to China Ahead of First Official Visit to North Korea

Beijing - South African Deputy Foreign Minister Aziz Pahad will today, Saturday 24 September conclude his official visit to China ahead of the first official visit to North Korea by a senior South African government minister scheduled for Saturday - Tuesday, 24-27 September 2005.

Deputy Minister Pahad yesterday, Friday 23 September 2005, held bilateral political and economic discussions with Vice Foreign Minister Qiao Zonghuai in Beijing.

Deputy Minister Pahad on Thursday 22 September 2005, upon arrival in Beijing also held discussions with Vice Foreign Minister Dai Bingguo and Ji Peiding, Vice Chairperson of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National People's Congress.

During discussions Deputy Minister congratulated representatives of the People's Republic of China for their commitment to the resolution of the nuclear crisis on the Korean peninsula which resulted in the Joint Statement by all representatives of the Six Party Talks (Russia, China, North Korea, South Korea, United States and Japan) on conclusion of the 4th round of discussions on Monday, 19 September 2005.

In this regard Deputy Minister Pahad received a very thorough briefing from both Vice Minister Dai and Qiao regarding the role played by China in the matter thus far and the role still to be played. The fifth round of talks will be held in November 2005.

Both Vice Ministers Dai and Qiao confirmed that the most important outcome of this 4th round of talks was that all sides committed themselves to resolving the issue through diplomatic negotiations.

Both Vice Ministers Dai and Qiao indicated to Deputy Minister Pahad their satisfaction with bilateral, political and economic relations between South Africa and the People's Republic of China. In this regard, in addition to various bilateral political visits between both countries in the last year, bilateral trade between South Africa and China amounted to US$ 6 billion in 2004 and US$ 4 billion in the first seven months of 2005.

In addition, various co-operation projects are being considered and undertaken through various fora including the China-Africa Forum. The coal-to-fuel technology and the deep mining techniques developed in South Africa are being considered by China. There are also many cultural and people-to-people exchanges underway. South Africa was the most popular destination for Chinese tourists in 2004 especially since it is the first country to be given approved destination status by the Chinese government.

Other issues on the agenda included the outcomes of the United Nations High Level Review of the Millennium Development Summit from 14-16 September, 60th session of the United Nations General Assembly currently underway in New York and the New York meeting of the Doha round to be held in Hong Kong in December 2005.

Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to work for the strengthening of multilateralism through the United Nations but agreed that the United Nations and all its institutions, including the international financing mechanism must be fundamentally transformed to meet the challenges confronting nations in a rapidly changing global environment. In this regard, the China-Africa Addis Ababa Declaration of December 2003 and New Asian-African Strategic Partnership of April 2005 will be used as a framework within which to formulate proposals.

Discussions also looked at developments in Africa with regard to peace, security and post-conflict reconstruction initiatives currently underway. In this regard, while China is currently involved in co-operation projects with many countries, including Sudan, it was agreed by both sides that this issue will be further looked at and the China-Africa Forum will be used as a vehicle through which to facilitate greater co-operation between China and Africa. Next year the China-Africa Forum will be held at a summit level.

Deputy Minister Pahad will later today, Saturday 24 September 2005 depart Beijing for North Korea where he will hold bilateral political and economic discussions with his counterpart Choe Su-Hon, the President of the Presidium Kim Yong Nam and Foreign Minister Paek Namsun.
Deputy Minister Pahad will return to South Africa on Wednesday, 28 September 2005.

Issued by Ronnie Mamoepa on 082-990-4853.

Department of Foreign Affairs
Private Bag X152
Pretoria
0001

24 September 2005

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