The following is the full text of a joint statement released by China and South Africa on Tuesday.
Joint Statement between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa
At the invitation of H.E. Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, H.E. Xi Jinping, President of the People’s Republic of China, paid a state visit to South Africa on August 22, 2023. The two leaders had an in-depth exchange of views on China-South Africa relations, China-Africa cooperation, and regional and international affairs of mutual interest. They reached consensus on a series of important related issues.
1. The two sides spoke highly of the substantial growth of China-South Africa relations over the past 25 years since establishing diplomatic ties in 1998. They agreed that the bilateral relationship enjoys strong growth momentum, deepening political ties, enhanced economic engagement, flourishing technical cooperation, and fruitful people-to-people exchanges. Furthermore, the two sides maintain regular interaction and collaboration on multilateral occasions, which attests to the solid foundation of the China-South Africa friendship and the resilience of bilateral cooperation and demonstrates the increasingly strategic nature of the partnership. In the face of emerging global challenges, the two sides undertook to strengthen their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership henceforth, actively build a quality China-South Africa community, and play a meaningful, joint role in China-Africa relations and South-South cooperation.
2. The two sides reaffirmed their respect and support for each other’s sustainable social-economic development paths and just transitions. South Africa commended China’s impressive development achievements over the past decade, and believes that the Chinese path to modernization offers many lessons. South Africa expressed confidence that China will realize its second centenary goal of building the country into a great modern socialist state in all respects and advance the rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through its path to modernization. China highly commended South Africa’s commitment to building a modern state, embracing diversity and inclusion, and expressed confidence that South Africa will continue to make new achievements in terms of its National Development Plan.
3. South Africa pledged continuous support for China on issues concerning its core interests and major concerns. South Africa reaffirmed its commitment to the one-China policy. China reiterates its respect and support for South Africa’s efforts to safeguard its national interests and social economic development and to better the livelihoods of its citizens. The two sides further agreed that Head-of-State diplomacy is particularly significant to developing China-South Africa relations. They agreed to maintain regular contact between the two heads of state to increase communication and coordination on major issues of mutual interest and chart the course for bilateral relations. The two sides agreed to leverage the role of structured bilateral mechanisms such as the Bi-National Commission (BNC), Strategic Dialogue (S.D.), the Regular Exchange Mechanism (REM) between the National People’s Congress of China and the National Assembly of South Africa, and the High-level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM) to deepen exchanges on governance and to promote people-to-people and sub-national interactions at various levels and across different fields to boost bilateral cooperation.
4. The two sides agreed that since its inception ten years ago, the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) is a useful, mutually beneficial platform for international cooperation. The two sides will consider working towards bilateral cooperation and synergy within the BRI and the Economic Reconstruction and Recovery Plan (ERRP) frameworks. Both sides pledged to continue to seek the strengthening of cooperation in key areas such as infrastructure and logistics; trade and investment; manufacturing; agro-processing; energy and resources; the financial sector; the digital economy; science and technology, and green development.
5. The two sides recognized the important overall guiding role of the 10 Years Strategic Program on Cooperation between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa (2020-2029) in bilateral cooperation in various fields. They agreed to continue to strengthen coordination and monitoring of the implementation of the Programme through the annual Strategic Dialogue and other mechanisms and to conduct regular reviews and assessments to ensure its timely, complete and effective implementation to promote mutual benefit and shared prosperity.
6. The two sides acknowledged the achievements of economic and trade cooperation between the two countries, especially with China being South Africa’s largest global trading partner and South Africa being China’s largest trading partner in Africa. The two sides stand ready to further identify specific needs in terms of bilateral cooperation within the China-South Africa Joint Working Group (JWG) and the Joint Economic and Trade Committee (JETC), improve the current trade structure, address market access, enhance two-way investment, and to keep industrial and supply chains stable and secure. The two sides encouraged their respective business communities to explore creative ways further to expand two-way trade, increase their manufacturing bases within proximity of the relevant source of raw materials, improve the export of value-added goods from South Africa to China, increase the volume of export of high-quality South African agricultural exports to China and increase new investments in the manufacturing and assembly sector, the transfer of skills and technology, and to enhance local employment.
7. China undertook to continue to support South Africa in addressing its energy security challenges, both in respect of generation and transmission infrastructure, and to actively participate in the South Africa Investment Conferences and other such activities hosted by South Africa. South Africa will actively participate in the China International Import Expo, the China-Africa Economic and Trade Expo and support trade missions between the two countries. South Africa further welcomed the identification of South Africa amongst the top 20 countries for group tourism promotion by Chinese tourists. In this regard, South Africa supports the increase in the frequency of direct flights between South Africa and China.
8. The two sides highly value people-to-people, cultural exchanges, and mutual learning. They acknowledged the role of the High-level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism and expressed satisfaction with the mechanism’s meeting in Cape Town in February this year. The two sides reaffirmed the need to implement and further strengthen social exchanges and cooperation on poverty alleviation strategies; culture; women; youth; education; sport; health; the media; tourism; and other fields at the sub-national level to deepen mutual understanding and friendship, and to consolidate the social foundation of the bilateral relationship.
9. The two sides underscored the need to defend, promote and strengthen the multilateral response to Climate Change and undertake to work together for a successful outcome of the 28th Conference of the Parties of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP28) in the United Arab Emirates in December 2023.
10. The two sides agreed that BRICS cooperation is essential in achieving a more representative and equitable global governance order and promoting more inclusive global economic growth. The two sides agreed to continue supporting the development of BRICS in all three pillars of cooperation and to collaborate with all BRICS members to deepen practical cooperation in various fields and achieve progress in terms of BRICS membership expansion. China supports South Africa as BRICS Chair this year and the outreach to Africa and the Global South and wishes the 15th BRICS Summit success.
11. The two sides agreed to enhance cooperation in international affairs and multilateral institutions, jointly uphold the UN-centered global system, an equitable international order underpinned by international law, and the basic norms governing international relations, based on the purposes and principles of the UN Charter, including to uphold the rights and interests of developing countries jointly and respect for national sovereignty and territorial integrity. South Africa has taken note of the efforts taken by China to promote and foster relations between states predicated on inclusive multilateralism and applauded China for its leadership role in promoting peaceful global cooperation. China expressed its support for a more significant role for South Africa in the United Nations, the G20 and other multilateral mechanisms. China supports South Africa’s Presidency of the G20 in 2025. The two sides further agreed that dialogue and negotiation is the only viable option for resolving the Ukraine conflict, and they will continue to promote talks for peace and play a constructive role in the political settlement of the issue. Furthermore, China welcomed Africa’s recent Ukraine-Russia peace mission.
12. The two sides welcomed the achievements of China-Africa cooperation and fully recognized the critical role of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) in advancing the comprehensive strategic and cooperative partnership between China and Africa. China also appreciates South Africa’s contribution to developing FOCAC and China-Africa relations. The two sides agreed to further strengthen consultation and coordination on FOCAC affairs to enhance implementation and practical cooperation in various fields under the Dakar Action Plan (2022-2024).
13. The two sides reiterated their resolve to further strengthen cooperation in terms of African affairs and to support the African Union in resolving African conflicts peacefully. China expressed its support for the development of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) and the African integration process, as well as the efforts of African countries and regional organisations under the auspices of the African Union (AU) to provide African solutions to African problems, including to support the AU’s early accession to membership of the G20. China supports the second ten-year implementation plan of AU Agenda 2063.
14. At the conclusion of the State Visit, the two leaders jointly witnessed the signing of several bilateral cooperation instruments.
15. The Chinese side expressed its appreciation to H.E. President Cyril Ramaphosa, the South African Government and the people of South Africa for hosting H.E. President Xi Jinping for his 4th State Visit to South Africa.