Opening Remarks by His Excellency President Zuma during Courtesy Call by President Hu Jintao of The People’s Republic of China on the Sidelines of The Nuclear Summit Seoul, South Korea
26 March 2012
Your Excellency President HU, it gives me great pleasure to meet you again, here in Seoul.
Let me start by thanking you for sending a high-level delegation to the ANC’s Anniversary Celebrations in January 2012.
We congratulate you as well on the 90th Anniversary of the Communist Party of China. We convey our best wishes for a successful 18th Congress of the party in October 2012.
We meet here as a follow up to the Washington Nuclear Security Summit held in 2010. South Africa supports the follow-up work undertaken after the 2010 Summit.
The Nuclear Security Summit process provides an important forum to raise awareness on nuclear security.
However, the important goal of the elimination of all weapons of mass destruction should not be diminished through this process.
Only the verifiable and irreversible elimination of nuclear weapons will ultimately prevent the use of such weapons.
An emphasis must be placed on a multilateral approach in promoting nuclear security, which upholds the centrality of the United Nations.
The value of the Nuclear Security Summit process is to support the work of existing bodies such as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).
The IAEA plays an important role in our common efforts to strengthen nuclear security, thereby contributing to preventing nuclear terrorism.
Since our last interaction in Sanya in 2011, China and South Africa have been hard at work to strengthen bilateral relations.
In this regard, I wish to re-emphasise the ten priority product and investment areas that we presented to China last year in order to increase our exports to China. These products are: Steel, Aluminium, Paper and Pulp, Plastics, Agro-processing, Automotive, Electro-technical, Chemicals, Manufactured goods (such as industrial pumps), and Capital equipment. Add to this are the ten investment projects - mining and Beneficiation, Renewable Energy, Energy, Automotive, Infrastructure, Oil and Gas, ICT, Freight and Rail Capital, Transport, and Agro-processing.
We are happy that the potential to further consolidate this upward trend and expand the quantity and quality of trade between our two countries, was boosted by the recent launch in February 2012 of non-stop direct flights by South African Airways between Johannesburg and Beijing.
We thank China for facilitating the direct flight.
During our State of the Nation Address in February this year, I announced a bold infrastructure plan to be overseen by the Presidential Infrastructure Coordinating Commission that I lead.
The Plan includes the expansion of ports and rail-lines; modernising the road networks; building of dams and irrigation systems; building of power stations as well as renewable energy plants; laying of transmission lines and broadband inside the country; and expanding the building of schools, hospitals and universities.
One of our key goals is to ensure the infrastructure plan helps to industrialise the South African economy further, including through the creation of a market for the manufacturing in South Africa of components and inputs for infrastructure.
China is an important potential partner.
It has vast experience in infrastructure-build; and is a strategic partner through the conclusion of the Beijing Declaration which Your Excellency and I signed in August in 2010.
It is my pleasure to invite a team from the People’s Republic of China to visit South Africa to be further briefed and to identify the opportunities for partnership and cooperation.
On China-Africa Cooperation, South Africa will work closely with China to ensure the success of the implementation of the Sharm el-Sheikh Plan of Action.
A practical area of cooperation is China’s role in supporting South Africa’s championing of the North-South infrastructure development corridor in Africa.
In July 2012, China will host the 5th Ministerial session of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC), in Beijing, with South Africa as a co-chair.
We look forward to a successful session.
On another front, South Africa is pleased that the People’s Republic of China is one of seven members that recently joined the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) Organization in London on 23 November 2011.
We will highly appreciate China’s support in our campaign for the rights to host the SKA. The winning bid is scheduled to be announced on 4 April 2012.
Beyond this bid, we look forward to deeper cooperation with China on radio astronomy.
I once again thank you, Mr President, and look forward to fruitful bilateral discussions this morning.
I thank you.