China-South Africa people-to-people exchanges on fast track

Updated: February 20, 2023 Source: Xinhua News Agency
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JOHANNESBURG, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- People-to-people exchanges between South Africa and China have gained new momentum as the two countries have recently co-hosted the third meeting of the South Africa-China High-level People-To-People Exchange Mechanism, during which new cooperation agreements have been signed.

At the meeting held on Thursday in Cape Town, the legislative capital of South Africa, the two sides held in-depth discussions on deepening bilateral people-to-people exchanges and signed three cooperation agreements in the fields of education, science and technology, and health.

Against the backdrop of the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the two countries as well as South Africa's chairmanship of the BRICS in 2023, analysts believe that the meeting will inject a new impetus into people-to-people exchanges between the two countries.

The two countries have actually carried out various forms of people-to-people and cultural exchanges in recent years and have achieved fruitful results.

Taking scientific and technological cooperation as an example, the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI) of South Africa celebrated the start of the construction of the Square Kilometer Array (SKA) radio telescope in its Northern Cape Province on Dec. 5, 2022.

"China is a crucial partner with the SKA as the manufacturer of the telescope dishes for the mid-frequency array," said Minister of Science and Innovation Blade Nzimande, who hailed the SKA as a groundbreaking international science project.

In addition to the SKA project, the two countries have also advanced cooperation in artificial intelligence (AI).

On Dec. 7, China's Ministry of Science and Technology and the DSI jointly hosted the online "China-South Africa Artificial Intelligence Symposium", which was attended by seven top AI experts from both countries.

Mmboneni Muofhe, Deputy Director-General of the DSI, said at the symposium that South Africa hopes to further strengthen cooperation with China in AI and to work to ensure that cooperation in the field really benefits the two peoples.

Besides, China and South Africa have also carried out cooperation in the space field.

Eugene Avenant, Chief Engineer at the South African National Space Agency, praised China for its support for South Africa and other African countries in their space technology development and service application in an article published on Chinese media on Dec. 27.

"China has not only assisted African countries in the manufacturing and launch of satellites on many occasions, but also fully supported them to foster the capability to independently develop the space sector. Offering high-quality training for African researchers in the designing, manufacturing, launching and controlling of satellites, China has nurtured a batch of space talents on the African continent," he said in the article.

Looking into future cooperation, Avenant said the South African space industry hopes to launch closer personnel exchanges and more intensive scientific cooperation with China, and to further expand the two sides' cooperation on the application of space technology so as to better benefit the two peoples.

Editor: Su Dan