Ramaphosa welcomes President Xi Jinping, calls China a ‘valued friend’

Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan, Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and South African First lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe.Image: Supplied

Chinese First Lady Peng Liyuan, Chinese President Xi Jinping shaking hands with South African President Cyril Ramaphosa and South African First lady Dr Tshepo Motsepe.Image: Supplied

Published Aug 22, 2023


President Cyril Ramaphosa has welcomed the People’s Republic of China’s President Xi Jinping.

Ramaphosa said that the relationship between the people of South Africa and China stretches back many decades.

“We recall with deep gratitude the support of the Chinese people for our struggle for freedom and democracy.”

“China has been a valued friend and developmental partner of South Africa throughout the course of rebuilding our country from the ruins of apartheid,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa also wished to make special mention of China’s support during the Covid-19 pandemic through the provision of personal protective equipment, vaccines and other essential items to South Africa and other African countries.

“This support extended to the cancellation of the debt of a number of Africa countries. We thank you, President Xi, for these acts of generosity and solidarity.

South Africa deeply appreciates China’s support in addressing our current energy challenges. This includes the donation of emergency power equipment worth R167 million and availing a grant of approximately R500 million as development assistance.

“Chinese companies, encouraged by your government, responded with enthusiasm to our investment drive, which has raised more than R1.5 trillion in investment commitments over the last five years,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa added that the relationship between South Africa and China has been steadily strengthened and has transformed into a comprehensive strategic partnership that is underpinned by 10-year strategic programmes of co-operation.

He said that China and South Africa share common goals of economic growth, development and common prosperity for their respective countries and for all countries of the Global South.

“It is this common outlook that has enabled us to deepen our co-operation on several fronts.”

“South Africa maintains high-level co-operation with China in several areas. These include, but are not limited to, international politics, trade, investment, infrastructure development, science, innovation and education,” said Ramaphosa.

Ramaphosa further noted that China is South Africa’s largest global trading partner with South Africa being China’s biggest trading partner in Africa.

The South African president further mentioned that development co-operation between China and South Africa is strong.

“As South Africa, we are inspired by China’s common prosperity strategy, and are encouraged that this includes improving the welfare and well-being of all countries of the Global South.

“Welcome the progress that has been made regarding various Focac-related infrastructural development projects in South Africa, such as small harbours development and the flagship uMzimvubu water development project,” he said.

Touching on the 15th BRICS Summit taking place in Sandton, Johannesburg, from today till Thursday, he said that BRICS has a vitally important role to play in the reform of global governance and in the promotion of multilateralism and co-operation throughout the world.

“South Africa and China have similar views on the expansion of BRICS membership and we look forward to the discussions we will have on this matter during the BRICS leaders’ retreat.

“We look forward to co-chairing the Africa-China leaders’ round-table alongside you.

“This is a valuable opportunity to take forward the growing relationship between China and the continent of Africa founded on respect, mutual-benefit and good faith,” he said.

Ramaphosa told the visiting Chinese president that South Africa was looking forward to another 25 years of friendship and co-operation with China, and well beyond.

“At a time when the world faces many geopolitical, social, economic, environmental and other challenges, it is up to us to deepen our co-operation and turn challenge into opportunity as we build a shared future.

“As friends and BRICS partners, we stand together in our shared quest for a better, more egalitarian world that frees the potential of all peoples,” he said.