Congratulatory Remarks by the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs,
the honourable Ms Sue van der Merwe on the Occasion of the China National Day
Celebrations, Pretoria, 23 September 2004
Your Excellency, Ambassador Liu
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great honour for me to be here
today on behalf of the South African government, to congratulate our Chinese friends
on the fifty-fifth anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China.
The Chinese people are known for their cultural resilience and historic unity.
We South Africans admire that deeply.
The ties that bind us as people of
the world are both a sense of our history and also the future that is still to
come. What is important is how we act in the present, what we do now so that we
leave a legacy for our youth, for our children and for future generations to come.
This is a particularly difficult context in which we find ourselves as
China, as South Africa, as countries of the developing world since the current
processes of globalisation do not favour our economic and social progress. Clearly
China is where it is today, against all odds. South Africa has accomplished what
has in the last ten years through a long and protracted struggle against colonialism
At a crucial moment in its history, China, under charismatic
leadership had the courage to stand up tall and to shake off the last shackles
of colonialism and second class citizenship. The South African people will not
forget the firm support that Chinese governments gave us, and other African liberation
movements during our struggles for freedom.
Today, our present successes
are not only as a result of the visionary leadership of our countries, but it
is also because we are inspired by earlier epochs in our histories, when Asia
and when Africa did play a more central role in the world. I am recalling the
period in history, more than a thousand years ago, when China ruled the seas,
when trade between China and Africa flourished, and these encounters and contacts
were peaceful and productive for our peoples. Ancient trade patterns were established
by captains of sailing ships who knew how to use the monsoon winds to their advantage.
Over time, some of these old relationships were forgotten.
One of our tasks
today should surely be to retrace these journeys to renew contacts that are characterised
by dialogues, cultural exchange and of mutual benefit to all. Now we need to use
these strengths to assert ourselves more favourably in the world.
here today, is also of significant symbolic importance because it reflects on
the substantive interaction between our two countries. Since the normalisation
of our bilateral relations six years ago, we have explored many issues of mutual
interest and concern. We share a basic commonality in that we both believe that
there will be no stability or prosperity in the world in this century unless the
problematic development challenges of the South are addressed meaningfully.
resolute effort, hard work and personal sacrifice, China has steadily repositioned
itself both domestically and in the international arena, to emerge, by 2003, as
one of the largest economies in the world. Furthermore, China is also an influential
member of the Security Council of the United Nations, and as the largest developing
country in the world, China continues to champion the interests of the South.
Building on the solid foundation of a shared global political vision and
the need for accelerating economic interaction, China and South Africa continue
to work together to consolidate and intensify our relations.
For the sake
of the Chinese people, for the sake of the South African people we have an obligation
to cement South-South co-operation in bringing about a new world. Let us focus
on building a better life in such a way that rural and urban poor of our vast
continents are empowered to lead productive and prosperous lives. Our continued
co-operation and interaction augurs well for a continued warm friendship and for
a long-term partnership between our two countries.
I congratulate you on
the celebration of your national day.
I thank you.