Toast Remarks by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe during the Official Visit by Vice President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China, Cape Town, 16 November 2010

Your Excellency, Vice President Xi Jinping,
Ministers and Deputy Ministers,
Your Excellencies, Ambassadors and High Commissioners
Distinguished guests,
Ladies and gentlemen:

On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, I am privileged to extend the warmest welcome to you and members of your delegation from the People’s Republic of China.

Relations between South Africa and China have been growing stronger and stronger since 1998 when our countries formally established diplomatic ties.

The strength of this relationship is demonstrated by frequent exchange between our people as well as high volumes of trade and investment between South Africa and China.

During our meetings tomorrow we will discuss specific issues concerning how we can further strengthen our relations for the mutual benefit of the people of China and the people of South Africa.

Both our governments are committed to work together to increase volumes of trade and narrow the trade imbalance which currently is in favour of China.

Tomorrow our ministers and officials will discuss how our countries can exploit new opportunities in the areas of value added manufacturing, technology, energy and information and communication technology. 

Both countries are in agreement that this is a long term commitment to co-operation between our peoples.

South Africa is satisfied with the progress that has already been achieved since the first meeting of the Bi-National Commission (BNC) in China in 2001.

Allow me, Your Excellency, to congratulate China on the successful hosting of the Shanghai 2010 World Expo and register our sincere appreciation for the assistance given to the South African Pavilion.

We participated at the Expo knowing fully well that its fruits will be harvested in the long term. We are confident that the 4, 5 million visitors to our Pavilion, together with millions others who watched the spectacular 2010 FIFA World Cup will remain friends of South Africa and translate into a viable market.

Your Excellency,

South Africa attaches great importance to our close and cordial relations of friendship at the continental level.

China’s involvement through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in Africa’s economic development is growing rapidly and trade is now over US$ 100 billion.

In this connection, we also look forward to a sustained friendship at multilateral level in pursuit of a more peaceful, equitable and prosperous global community.

Your Excellency,

Let me once again assure you that our deepening Comprehensive Strategic Partnership will definitely accelerate our common journey towards a better life for our peoples.

Hopefully this is the first of many visits to South Africa.  Together with the people of South Africa we will do everything to make your short stay a memorable one.

Ladies and gentleman,

In this spirit, I have the pleasure to request you to rise and join me in a toast to the good health and prosperity of His Excellency, Vice President Xi Jinping, and to friendship, trust, peace and prosperity between the peoples of the Republic of South Africa and the People’s Republic of China.

To our enduring Friendship

I thank you

16 November 2010

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