|Speech by Acting Consul General Mr. Cao Li at the Reception Celebrating the 69th Anniversary of the Founding of the People's Republic of China|
HON. Mr. Cedric Frolick, House Chairperson of the National Assembly of the Republic of South Africa,
Distinguished Guests from the National Parliament, Western Cape and Cape Town municipal government,
Dear Friends from the Consular Corps in Cape Town,
Fellow Chinese Compatriots, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a great pleasure to be with all the friends tonight to celebrate the 69th birthday of the People’s Republic of China On behalf of the Chinese Consulate General in Cape Town, a very warm welcome to all the guests present today, and holiday greetings to the Chinese compatriots living, working and studying in the three Cape Provinces. Taking this opportunity, I’d also like to extend our heartfelt thanks to friends from all walks of life who have been devoted to promoting the friendly relationship between China and South Africa!
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends,
The path of past 69 years Chinese blazed has witnessed a glorious course as New China forged ahead through hardship and difficulties. Under the leadership of the Communist Party of China, 1.3 billion Chinese people have achieved a historical leap from standing up, growing prosperous to becoming strong and breaking new ground for the great cause of building socialism with Chinese characteristics.
This year also marks the 40th anniversary of China’s adopting the policy of reform and opening-up. The friends familiar with China’s national conditions would be aware of that without reform and opening-up, China could not have made such tremendous economic and social changes. Over the past 40 years, China’s national economy has stridden ahead while economic overall volume continued to step up new levels, leaping from the 11th place to the 2nd largest economy in the world. Over the past 40 years, China has succeeded in joining the ranks from “low incomes countries” to “upper middle incomes countries”, and as the same time, more than 700 million Chinese people were lifted out of poverty. Over the past 40 years, China’s overall national strength and international influence has significantly risen while science and technology are improving rapidly with each passing day.
Today, China shares her wisdom and solutions with international society and African countries, by taking an active part in global governance, fulfilling international commitments, proposing the initiatives to build a new model of major power relations, a community with a shared future for mankind and an even closer China-Africa community with a common destiny. China will resolutely take further steps to comprehensively deepen reform and opening up. Next month, China will hold the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai to provide a wide platform for commodities over the world. This is not only a major policy decision China has made for a new round of opening up at a higher level, but also an important initiative taken of our own accord to open up to the world. I hereby welcome the friends in South Africa to actively participate in the Expo to introduce products of quality and specialty of South Africa to the Chinese market.
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and South Africa. 20 years on, the relationship between our two governments has gone from strength to strength and the friendship between our two peoples has been deepened continuously. Today, China-South African relation has already become the flagship for China-African relation and South-South cooperation.
Political and strategic mutual trust between our two countries is unprecedentedly strong. In July this year, President Xi Jinping paid his 3rd state visit to South Africa and attended the BRICS Johannesburg Summit. In September, President Ramaphosa paid a state visit to China, and co-chaired the FOCAC Beijing Summit with President Xi. The two significant state visits and the successful holding of BRICS and FOCAC summits attracted worldwide attention, highlighting the strong will of the leaders of our two countries in deepening the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership.
Economic cooperation between our two countries is increasingly closer. China has been South Africa's largest trading partner and major source of investment for nine consecutive years, and South Africa has already become China's largest trading partner in Africa. In 2017, bilateral trade between China and South Africa totaled 39.17 billion USD, remarkably 26 times of 1.5 billion USD at the start of our diplomatic ties in 1998.
People-to-people exchanges between our two countries have continuously thrived. China and South Africa established the first China-Africa People-to-People Exchange Mechanism at vice-premier level in 2016, providing an institutional guarantee for our people-to-people exchanges. So far, South Africa has the largest Chinese community and attracts the largest number of Chinese tourists and Chinese overseas students on the African continent. Besides, South Africa is also the first African country to incorporate Chinese language teaching into the national education system. Many touching stories have derived from the ever closer interactions between our two peoples.
The exchanges between the legislative bodies of our two countries have steadily progressed. Since China and South Africa established the Regular Parliamentary Exchange Mechanism in 2006, the close exchanges between the parliaments and portfolio committees of the two countries have become an important channel for promoting and deepening the bilateral relations. In June, Mr. Frolick, House Chairperson of the National Assembly of South Africa, successfully led a delegation comprised of Chairs of various portfolio committees to visit China. Not long ago, the newly elected National People’s Congress of China established the China-South Africa Parliamentary Friendship Group to facilitate the cooperation between our two countries in particular. Next year, the South African National Assembly will also hold a general election. It is expected that the cooperation between the two legislative bodies will be steadily advanced to a new level.
This year is also a major year of great achievements in China-Africa relations and pragmatic cooperation. At the 2018 Beijing FOCAC Summit, which was successfully held not long ago, President Xi Jinping announced that China would increase its assistance to Africa by 60 billion USD. He also reiterated China’s policy towards Africa, namely in close collaboration with African countries, China has been committed to follow the principle of sincerity, real results, amity and good faith and the principle of pursuing the greater good and shared interests, endeavoring to build a China-Africa community with a shared future to assume our joint responsibility, pursue win-win cooperation, deliver happiness for all of us, enjoy cultural prosperity, common security and promote harmony between man and nature. In the following 3 years and beyond, on the basis of the ten cooperation plans already adopted on 2015 FOCAC Summit, China will launch the eight major initiatives which will be implemented in the fields of industrial promotion, infrastructure connectivity, trade facilitation, green development, capacity building, health care, people to people exchange and maintaining peace and security, which aimed at addressing the software and hardware deficiencies and promoting the self-development capacity of African countries.
The late South African President Nelson Mandela once said that, it always seems impossible until it is done. China will continue to firmly support the development of African countries, be a sincere partner of the African people, and work with African brothers to create a better future for China and Africa. The day will surely come when the Chinese nation realizes its dream of national rejuvenation and Africa realizes its dream of unity and invigoration!
Ladies and Gentlemen, Dear Friends,
The Chinese Consulate General has always been committed to promoting friendly exchanges and cooperation between our consular district, namely the three Cape Provinces, and China. In the past year, under the concerted efforts of the Chinese Consulate and friends from all walks of life, the exchanges and cooperation between the two sides have made fast but steady progress.
Exchanges between local governments of China and South Africa have further deepened. In April of this year, Premier Masualle of the Eastern Cape Province, led a delegation to Guangdong and Zhejiang of China and signed an economic cooperation agreement worth of 300 million rand. Two months later, Premiere Masualle reciprocated the Chinese hospitality he received by welcoming the delegation from Zhejiang Provincial Government in the Eastern Cape. The frequent exchange of visits has further tightened the ties between the two sides. In June, The SAPS Northern Cape Provincial Commissioner Lieutenant General Shivuri led a delegation of South African senior police officers to Chengdu, China and had an in-depth exchanges with their Chinese counterparts there. Not long ago, the Western Cape Provincial Minister for Social Development Mr. Albert Fritz visited China, and he told me he was very impressed by the two social welfare institutions he visited in Beijing. Besides, this year, Chinese delegations from Huangshan of Anhui Province, Yinchuan of Ningxia Province and Jincheng of Shanxi Province completed visits to South Africa at the invitations of their sister cities like Cape Town, Cape Winelands, and Sarah Baartman respectively. Exchanges at local government level are indeed even closer.
The sub-national cooperation between the two sides in various fields has yielded plentiful fruits. In June of this year, the Longyuan Mulilo De Aar Wind Power Project in the Northern Cape Province developed by China Longyuan Power Group Corporation, officially passed the once-off acceptance check of Connectivity, becoming China's first wind power projects in Africa which integrate investment, construction and operation, setting a benchmark for China-South Africa energy cooperation. In July, during President Xi Jinping's state visit to South Africa, the first vehicle manufactured in South Africa by China's BAIC Group rolled off the production line in the Coega Industrial Development Zone in Nelson Mandela Bay. In the near future, the South African-made BAIC SUV will provide new choices for South African consumers. In August, a framework agreement on wine industry development co-operation between the Cape Winelands district municipality and Ying Chuan city of Ningxia Province in China was signed to boost both regions’ local wine industries. Besides, The 2018 Chinese Bridge Chinese Proficiency Competition for Foreign College Students and Secondary School Students were held in Nelson Mandela Bay and Cape Town respectively. Nearly a hundred South African students who love Chinese language and culture participated in the competitions and their outstanding performance was very impressive.
Chinese communities are increasingly integrated into local society. There are nearly 50,000 Chinese nationals working and living in the three Cape provinces. They regard the rainbow nation of South Africa as their " second hometown", continuously making their own portion of contribution to the local social and economic development. For instance, at the beginning of this year, when Cape Town was stricken by a serious water crisis, the Chinese community, in response to our Consulate’s Saving Water initiative, shared the weal of woe of Capetonians by actively promoting water-saving awareness and dramatically reducing water use. In July, in order to commemorate the centenary of Madiba's birth, Chinese local communities from the three Cape provinces held a series of charity donations in places such as Atlantis in Cape Town, Vredenburg on the west coast, Springbok in Northern Cape, Nelson Mandela Bay and East London in Eastern Cape and so on, spreading their heartfelt care and love to thousands of local needy people. In addition, the Chinese dragon and lion dance were blossoming with radiant splendor in this year's mega events, such as Carnival in Cape Town, the Diaz Culture Festival in Mossle Bay, the Table Mountain Cross-country marathon, exhibiting a wonderful Chinese culture feast for the South African people.
Taking this opportunity, I’d also like to say a few words in Chinese to our Chinese compatriots. I sincerely hope our Chinese compatriots could adhere to and carry on the great spirit of Chinese nation, work hard, forge ahead, care about the common development of China and South Africa. Actively give back to the local society and contribute to building a safe and prosperous South Africa.
Ladies and gentlemen, dear friends:
President Ramaphosa said that China-Africa relation had entered a "golden era", and President Xi Jinping also said China would always be Africa's good friend, good partner and good brother. I do believe that with the deepening of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and South Africa, with the friendly cooperation of brothers and partners between our two countries, and with the full support of our friends, China-South Africa relations will certainly break new ground and reach a new high.
Now I’d like to propose a toast,
to the 69th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China!
to the common prosperity of China and South Africa!
and to the everlasting friendship between China and South Africa!