|Speech Delivered at the Chinese New Year Reception by Chinese Consul General Kang Yong|
Your Excellency Deputy Speaker Mr. SL Tsenoli
Fellow Chinese friends, Compatriots, Ladies and Gentlemen,
Welcome to today’s reception held by the Chinese Consulate General in Cape Town in celebration of the Chinese New Year,as well as the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between China and South Africa. The year of 2018 also marks the Nelson Mandela centenary. As a famous Chinese saying goes, “when you drink the water, think of those who dug the well”. Therefore, we will always remember, 20 years ago, it was due to the political vision and decision of Madiba and then Chinese leader, a new chapter was opened in the history of China-South Africa relations. Madiba, just as he will be always cherished by South African people, will also be remembered forever by the Chinese people.
Dear friends, at the entrance of today’s reception, you must have seen a large oil painting featuring the life of Madiba. It was painted by a Chinese artist named Cui Ning. 20 years ago, in the same year when South Africa established diplomatic ties with China, Mr. Cui arrived in South Africato pursue his arts dream at Rhodes University in Grahamstown. Sincehis completion of studies, he has been actively devoted his life to painting South Africa. His works not only earned recognition from the local art and media circles, but also caught the attention of the South African government. He was entrusted with drawing portraits for Madiba many times and was receivedpersonally by Mr. Mandela. His large oil painting "Long Walk to Freedom" was permanently collected by Mandela Foundation in 2008. His works featuring landscapes and peoplein South Africa also opened a window for Chinese people to learn more about this beautiful country. Mr. Cui contributed to the China-South Africa friendship with his paintbrushes, weaving a wonderful story of people-to-people exchange. Mr. Cui Ning has been invited to our reception today, so welcome Mr. Cui!
Over the past 20 years, in parallel with the ever-deepening love for South Africa by the Chinese artist Cui Ning, is the ever-deepening friendship between our two countries. The political trust between the two countries has been constantly on the rise. We regardeach other as the strategic priority for our foreign policies. We cooperate closely in regional and international affairs. The bilateral ties have achieved "triple jump" from partnership to strategic partnership and then to comprehensive strategic partnership. The partnership has also increasingly become a model for China-Africa relations and South-South cooperation, playing a leading role in the construction of the new type of international relations.
As you may know, with the fast development of economic and trade relations between China and South Africa in the past 20 years, China has become South Africa's largest trade partner for 9 consecutive years and one of the largest investment source country to South Africa. For China, South Africa is our largest trade partner in Africa and the most important investment destination country. Take our consular district as an example. Hisence SA in the Western Cape has become a famous manufacturer of household electronic appliances in local market. And Hisense made-in-South Africa fridges and TVsare widely used in the country. In the Eastern Cape Province, China FAW AutomobileGroup and BAIC AutomobileSA have set up plantsin Coega IDZ, boosting the auto industrial cluster in surrounding area. In the Northern Cape Province, the De Aar wind power project invested by China Longyuan Power Group was put into production in November 2017, with 644,000,000 kilowatt-hour of clean energy delivered each year and more than 1,000 local job opportunities created.
More importantly, the cultural and people-to-people exchanges between the two countries have gone from strength to strength. Seeds of friendship continue to spread in the hearts of our people. The three Confucius Instituteswithin our consular area at the UCT, the Stellenbosch University and the Rhodes University, have trained a few thousand local students and deepened mutual understanding betweenour young people. In Cape Town, we have the South African Kong Fu star who teaches Chinese martial arts to primary and secondary school students from Cape Flats. We also seethe Huaxing dragon dance and lion dance team, formed by local Chinese, demonstrating in various cultural and sports functions.
I am very pleased to report to you, your Excellency,Deputy SpeakerTsenoli, that over the past 20 years,parliaments of the two countries have been engaged in each other on an ever-closer basis. Since the establishment of the regular exchange mechanism between the two parliaments in 2006, four rounds of parliamentary leaders meetings have been held successfully. At the same time, they also maintained close communications on multilateral platforms such as the G20 and the Inter-Parliamentary Union. Besides, the scope of parliamentary cooperation has further expanded through the fruitful cooperation and exchanges of visits between portfolio committees of the two parliaments.
Ladies and gentlemen,
In last October, the Communist Party of China (CPC) successfully convened its 19th National Congress, which formulates a long-term plan for China’s development from now to 2050. Maybe some friends would ask what China would look like in 2050? It is indeed a difficult question to answer. However, I would like to introduce to you all the development over the past 35 years, which might help you find the proper answer. In 1982, the 12th National Congress of the CPC formulated the long-term development plan for the following 30 years. At that time, China’s GDP ranked 12th place in the world, while in 2017, it occupied the second place with a GDP 147 times as much as that of 1982! Therefore, I do believe that China’s developing plan in the next 30 years and beyond will be filled with economic opportunities, business opportunities, and
Opportunities for peace and development. These opportunities not only belong to China but also to the world! I’m convinced that with the advantage of the comprehensive strategic partnership with China, the advantage as BRICS member state and the advantage as one of the key countries of the Belt and Road Initiative, South Africa will seize and make good use of these opportunities through expanding and deepening cooperation with China, so that tangible benefits could be brought to the economies of the two countries and the well-being of the two peoples.
Ladies and gentleman,
There are about 50,000 Chinese citizens living in the three provinces of Eastern, Western and Northern Cape. Together with local people, they have gone through thicks and thins, experienced joys and sorrows. Now they already forged a community of shared future with the local people. Recently Cape Town is inflicted by a worst drought in the past few centuries. The Chinese communities in Cape Town are torn with anxiety as much as the local people. Actively responding to the municipal Government’s call, they have improved the way of water consumption and save water more. Xu Yongxin is a professor at the University of Western Cape. He used to serve as consultant in the Department of Water and Sanitation of South Africa. On Jan 26th, Professor Xu was invited to attend a meeting chaired by Minister Nomvula Mokoyane, to discuss the Cape Town water crisis. Prof. Xu put forward proposals aiming at rescuing emergencies in the shortterm and also finding solutions in the long run. Professor Xu also attended the reception today! Welcome Professor Xu! I hope you’ll continue to use your expertise and experience to make contribution to solving the Cape Town water issue.
Now I’d like to propose a toast to all the guests and wish you a prosperous business, successful career and complete happiness and health in the New Year. Cheers for the prosperity of China and South Africa. Cheers for the long-lasting friendship between our two countries. Pray for our beautiful Mother City of Cape Town to enjoy more rain in the Year of Dog!
Thank you very much!