Toward a new golden age

Garth Shelton

President Xi Jinping has expressed China’s willingness to further strengthen China-South Africa relations ahead of the BRICS Summit in Johannesburg from Aug 22 to 24. This has been widely welcomed in South Africa and has opened the way for enhancing political solidarity and strategic cooperation.
This year marks 25 years since the establishment of China-South Africa diplomatic relations, which, over time, have been characterized by an ever closer and a more mutually beneficial partnership. China is now South Africa’s biggest trade partner, a key strategic investor and a close collaborator in the struggle to transform the global structure toward a more balanced, peaceful and equitable system.
High-quality economic development in China offers South Africa a significant opportunity for expanded commercial engagement and mutual prosperity. A better understanding of China’s economy could give South African traders a golden opportunity to share China’s economic miracle.
Since the establishment of formal diplomatic relations in 1998, China-South Africa relations have evolved from diplomatic bilateral interaction to a comprehensive strategic partnership. Commercial exchanges have flourished and a high-level political dialogue has evolved, forming a solid foundation for long-term cooperation and exchanges. South Africa joined the Belt and Road Initiative in 2015 and has been an active supporter and participant in the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation since its inception in 2000. With China’s strong support, South Africa joined the BRICS(Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) mechanism and is now working closely with China to advance multilateralism, along with a common and shared future for all developing countries. South Africa strongly values the potential for closer relations through the Belt and Road Initiative, which is regarded by many African states as the “fast track to prosperity”. Stronger infrastructure links between South Africa and China through the initiative can open the way for continued mutual growth and common prosperity. South Africa thus seeks closer relations to take advantage of a “golden age” for China-Africa trade, high-level strategic cooperation and mutually beneficial exchanges. The Belt and Road Initiative and FOCAC frameworks are comprehensive and clearly offer very significant benefits for South Africa and all African countries. The solid foundation of China-Africa relations confirms a bright future and enormous opportunity for increased cooperation and common prosperity. China’s drive for modernization and prosperity has been a great success and serves as a model for South Africa’s own economic reform and future growth. Under President Xi’s leadership, China has become an industrialized prosperous society and has overcome the challenge of extreme poverty. China’s enormously successful experience in modernization shows all developing countries the way toward economic development and prosperity. China’s successful modernization is an inspiration, a guide and a motivation for South Africa to overcome its current challenges. China’s unparalleled success gives South Africa a road map toward economic growth, reducing unemployment and poverty. To this end, China and South Africa have concluded a 10-year Strategic Cooperation Program (2020-29). This program offers South Africa enormous opportunity for the expansion of economic interaction. A safe and fair business environment in South Africa can open the way for significant new Chinese investment and trade.
The next BRICS summit is expected to further strengthen China-South Africa exchanges and cooperation. Working shoulder to shoulder, China and South Africa can advance the BRICS agenda toward a more peaceful, harmonious and fair international system. BRICS is the ideal forum to advance a closer community of shared interests and a shared future. South Africa will work closely with China at the coming BRICS summit to advance shared interests along with strengthened unity and cooperation. BRICS is also expected to support the basic norms of international cooperation and oppose hegemony and power politics. BRICS is expected to focus on expanding membership, increasing multilateralism, reducing the dominance of the US dollar and advancing intra-BRICS trade and investment. China and South Africa will work closely to support each other in advancing common interests and economic objectives. A common history grounded in the struggle against imperialism and colonization forms the foundation for China-South Africa solidarity and friendship. Diplomatic relations have brought China and South Africa closer through high-level exchanges, trade, investment and international mechanisms for cooperation such as the Belt and Road Initiative, FOCAC and BRICS. The solid friendship and depth of interaction suggest a future based on a new “golden age” for China-South Africa cooperation for the next 25 years. Closer interaction will immensely help South Africa overcome its current challenges with electricity generation, job creation and poverty reduction. The China-Africa comprehensive strategic partnership and deep friendship have only just begun, the next 25 years will be more rewarding, more significant and more mutually beneficial.
The China Daily