President Jiang Zemin and South African President Mbeki Held Talks and Jointly Presided over the First Session of the China-South Africa Bilateral Commission
On December 10, 2001, President Jiang Zemin held talks with visiting South African President Thabo Mbeki at the Great Hall of the People and they also jointly presided over the first session of the China-South Africa Bilateral Commission. Jiang said that the session was held according to the spirits of Pretoria Declaration on China-South Africa Partnership signed by the heads of state of the two countries last year and after full consultation and careful preparations by the two sides, adding that this marks the official inauguration of the Bilateral Commission and will bolster friendly relations and cooperation to full scale and in various sectors between the two countries.
Jiang spoke highly of the rapid development of political relations between China and South Africa since the two countries established diplomatic ties some four years ago. He noted that there have been frequent exchange of high-level visits and the two countries have intensified discussions on and cooperation in international affairs and United Nations and other multilateral fields through frequent political exchanges. The Chinese side appreciates the South African government's adherence to the One China policy and support for China's stand on national reunification. He went on to say that bilateral relations have maintained momentum of vigorous growth since the two heads of state signed the Pretoria Declaration last year, expressing the conviction that the launching of the Bilateral Commission will inject new vitality into bilateral relations.
Jiang stressed that thanks to the joint efforts of the two governments and business communities of the two countries and continuous development of economic and trade relations between the two countries in recent years, South Africa has become China's biggest trade partner in Africa, and China's investment in South Africa has been increasing steadily. Following China's accession to the World Trade Organization, the trade and economic relations between the two countries will be further promoted, and their mutual complementary advantages will be brought to full play. He went on to say that with joint efforts between the two governments and with the ever deepening of cooperation between the two countries in all areas, bilateral relations will be elevated to a higher level in the new century under the principles of equality, mutual benefit, variety, common prosperity and stressing practical results.
On regional and international issues, Jiang spoke highly of South Africa's role in the Non-alliance Movement and bolstering African solidarity and development. He said that China will as always, develop friendly relations and cooperation with all African countries including South Africa.
Mbeki said that the launching of the Bilateral Commission is a historic moment in the bilateral relations, and will play an important role in promoting cooperative relations in all aspects. He went on to say that South Africa and China need to know each other better, adding that the South African government will do all it can to consolidate and develop bilateral cooperation in such areas as politics, economy, science and technology, culture, education and international issues. Congratulating China on its accession to WTO and its success in bidding for the 2008 Olympic Games, he said that they are two big events for both China and the world.
Mbeki also briefed Jiang on a new partnership program for the development of African nations. He said that in order to achieve peace and development on the African continent, the African nations are determined to solve their problems of war and underdevelopment through strengthening solidarity among themselves at the beginning of the new century and through their own efforts, and with help from the international community. In addition, he expressed the hope that this program can enjoy China's support. Jiang said that China backs the efforts of the African nations in pursuit of peace and development. He also spoke highly of the role of South Africa in formulating the program.
After the talks, the two presidents attended a press conference on the launching of the new commission. The two countries also signed a treaty on extradition and notes were exchanged between foreign ministers of the two governments on the modalities of the China-South Africa Bilateral Commission.