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Top Chinese political advisor, South African president discuss bilateral relations, climate change

PRETORIA, March 30 (Xinhua) -- Top Chinese political advisor Jia Qinglin on Tuesday discussed with South African President Jacob Zuma on seeking stronger bilateral relations and coordinating the two countries' stances on climate change.

Jia first extended the warm greetings and good wishes of Chinese President Hu Jintao to Zuma, who in return conveyed his greetings to Hu. Hu and Zuma have met several times on the sidelines of the international summits since Zuma took presidency last May.

Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), the country's top advisory body, was making the visit at the invitation of the National Council of Provinces of South Africa. Jia held talks with Mninwa Mahlangu, chairman of the National Council of Provinces of South Africa, at Cape Town Monday.

Zuma said Jia's visit was of great significance to boost bilateral relationship and called on both sides to take the opportunity of the visit to expand substantial cooperation and bring bilateral strategic partnership to a new high.

On bilateral relations, Jia reviewed the growth of China- Africa relationship since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1998, highlighting frequent visits, stronger political trust, enhanced economic cooperation and more solid public foundation.

China has become South Africa's biggest trade partner and exporter as bilateral trade volume hit a historic high of more than 16 billion U.S. dollars in 2009 despite the international financial crisis, according to the Chinese Customs.

Of African nations, South Africa draws the biggest number of Chinese tourists and students who pursued higher education in the country at the southern tip of Africa.

Zuma appreciated China's selfless help and generous support to African people in their pursuit of national justice and country development.

As developing nations, China and South Africa shared the same task of developing economy and improving livelihood, Jia said.

Jia proposed the two countries work more closely in increasing strategic trust, deepening economic cooperation and expanding people-to-people exchanges.

On climate change, Jia said China and Africa should step up their cooperation to tackle the challenge in a bid to ensure the joint interests of developing countries.

Zuma spoke highly of China's efforts to deal with climate change and said China played an important role in producing the positive outcome from the Copenhagen climate change conference last December.

South African president expected his country, China and other developing countries to increase communication and coordination so as to make the upcoming international climate change conference in Mexico achieve results good to developing countries.

South Africa was the last leg of Jia's ten-day African tour which already took him to Cameroon and Namibia.

Jia will address a China-South Africa economic and trade forum and witness the signing of a package of cooperative deals between the two countries on Wednesday.

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