JOHANNESBURG, June 28 (Xinhuanet) -- South
Africa's veteran freedom fighter Nelson Mandela said here
Monday that the Chinese people's fight for national
independence decades ago had inspired South Africans and now
the two countries should further improve bilateral ties.
Mandela said during his
meeting with visiting Chinese Vice President Zeng Qinghong
that former Chinese leaders such as Mao Zedong, Zhou Enlai
and Zhu De, as well as the Chinese people had given great
support to the South Africans' fights for independence and
against apartheid rule.
The South African people would never forget that
victory of the revolution in China, marked by the founding
of the People's Republic of China in October 1949, had
imposed important influence on struggles of the South
Africans, he said.
Mandela pushed the establishment of diplomatic
relations with China in January 1998, about one and a half
year before he retired as the first black president in South
said the South African people cherish good relations with
China and hope bilateral ties will be further improved.
Zeng, who is on a
four-day visit to South Africa, extended warm greetings to
Mandela, who turns 86 next month, on behalf of the Chinese
President Hu Jintao and former president Jiang Zemin.
Zeng said the Chinese
people admired Mandela for his leading role in the long and
arduous struggle for freedom and equality for the South
friendship forged by the old-generation leaders would be
further enhanced by the Chinese and South African
governments and the peoples in the new century, he said.