China, S. Africa set to strengthen ties, amplifying Global South voices

Updated: August 23, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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People walk near the venue of the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa, Aug. 20, 2023. (Xinhua/Zhang Yudong)

The sense of unity stemmed from China's support to the South African people in fighting apartheid, and standing with the African National Congress (ANC) as comrades and friends, said ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula.

PRETORIA, Aug. 22 (Xinhua) -- Amidst Western media's distorted reports accusing China of "colonizing" African nations, including South Africa, it is notable that South Africans describe their relationship with China as one of "comradeship" and "brotherly friendship."

Meanwhile, in face of numerous uncertainties and accelerating changes unseen in a century, as natural members of the Global South, China and South Africa's relationship holds significant global sway due to their shared commitment to advancing the voices and interests of developing nations.


This photo released by the Confucius Institute at Durban University of Technology on Aug. 18, 2023 shows faculty and students of the institute displaying a calligraphic work which reads "China-South Africa friendship" in Chinese. (Confucius Institute at Durban University of Technology/Handout via Xinhua)


The sense of unity stemmed from China's support to the South African people in fighting apartheid, and standing with the African National Congress (ANC) as comrades and friends, said ANC Secretary-General Fikile Mbalula.

Apart from strong ties of economic relationship, "it is a relationship that is formed by ties of anti-imperialism," said Mbalula in an interview with Xinhua on the eve of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to South Africa.

"President Xi's visit is one of comradeship between the two presidents in strengthening this important relationship which spends decades and decades of years between the African National Congress and the Communist Party of China," he added.

Xi arrived in South Africa on Monday to attend the 15th BRICS Summit in Johannesburg and pay a state visit to South Africa.

In a meeting on Tuesday with his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, Xi said that the key to the good relations between China and South Africa and their deep friendship lies in the fact that the two countries and the two parties share weal and woe on their respective development paths and have forged a profound friendship.

Ramaphosa described China as a sincere brother, friend and partner of his country, saying that China has provided valuable support to South Africa in the latter's struggle for national independence and liberation as well as its national development. He also mentioned China's timely support for his country during the COVID pandemic.

For Sifiso Mahlangu, editor-in-chief of South Africa's leading newspaper, The Star, South Africa and China have an unbreakable bond.

"Our history dictates that China has been our friend. The Chinese people, the People's Republic of China, and the Communist Party of China have been the friends of the South African people," said Mahlangu.


This photo taken on Aug. 10, 2023 shows wind turbines of (Longyuan SA) De Aar Wind Power Project in De Aar, South Africa. (Xinhua/Dong Jianghui)


The state visit coincides with the two countries' 25th anniversary of diplomatic ties and marks Xi's fourth trip to South Africa as Chinese President.

Xi received the Order of South Africa from Ramaphosa on Tuesday. During their meeting, the two leaders agreed to push for greater development of the China-South Africa comprehensive strategic partnership in the new era.

Dakota Legoete, a member of the National Executive Committee of the African National Congress, told Xinhua that he expected the South Africa-China win-win cooperation in terms of "economic development, people-to-people exchanges, and inter-countries relations to be strengthened."

As the first African country to sign the Belt and Road cooperation document with China, South Africa has been China's biggest trading partner in Africa for 13 years in a row, as well as one of the African countries with the largest stock of Chinese investment, which has risen to 10 billion U.S. dollars.

More than 200 Chinese companies in South Africa have created over 400,000 local jobs and South African companies are also racing to invest in the Chinese market to seize its abundant business opportunities.

With deepening trade relations between the two countries, South Africa's wines, rooibos tea, and aloe vera gels are trending products in China. On Tuesday, Xi said that China is ready to import more quality products from South Africa and will continue to encourage Chinese enterprises to invest and do business in South Africa.

The Belt and Road Initiative has also facilitated investment in South Africa's infrastructure, including ports, railways, and roads. The improved transportation networks have enhanced trade within the country and strengthen its position as a regional trade hub.


Attendees are seen during the China-South Africa Youth Dialogue at Wits School of Governance, Johannesburg, South Africa, June 15, 2023. (Photo by Shiraaz Mohamed/Xinhua)


China and South Africa must strengthen strategic coordination, practice genuine multilateralism and work to increase the representation and voice of the Global South countries in global governance, Xi said on Tuesday.

Xi's remarks came as BRICS leaders set to meet in Johannesburg from Aug. 22 to 24 to discuss issues including deepening BRICS cooperation, giving more voice to the Global South, and the BRICS group's expansion.

Xi and Ramaphosa will also co-chair the China-Africa Leaders' Dialogue.

As a model for China-Africa relations, South-South cooperation, and unity and cooperation among emerging market countries, China-South Africa relationship has offered valuable experience for building an even stronger community with a shared future between China and Africa.

President Xi is advocating for building a multipolar world, instead of a "unipolar world of manipulation, of bullying others by one superpower," said Legoete. "We would agree with President Xi on that."

"That is what we would pursue as part of the outcomes of the BRICS Summit in South Africa," said the South African official. "It is a benefit shared by all people in the world."

The BRICS Summit in South Africa is being held "at a very critical time" when the global community is becoming "very divided and highly polarized," said Anil Sooklal, South Africa's BRICS Sherpa.

"The Global South continues to be marginalized ... We continue to be ignored in terms of global decision-making, and yet the world has changed," he said.

Today's reality is distinct in the sense that "the Global South has risen, it is no longer impoverished, and it cannot be neglected on the global stage," he said, calling BRICS "a catalyst to bring the Global South together."

"It is for the first time in recent geopolitics that you have such a collective and a powerful body representing the voice of the Global South."

Editor: Su Dan