24 September 2020
PRETORIA – Hours after landing in South Africa to take the highest office at the Embassy of China in South Africa, Ambassador-designate Chen Xiaodong laid out his ambitious plans to foster closer ties between South Africa and China.
“I have visited South Africa many times [before] and was deeply impressed by its unique and magnificent natural scenery, colorful and pluralistic cultures and the warm and friendly people. China and South Africa have forged a special bond of “comrades plus brothers” and our friendship has emerged stronger from our joint fight against imperialism, colonialism and racism, and from our pursuit of common development through solidarity and win-win cooperation,” said Chen.
He said since the establishment of China/South Africa diplomatic ties 22 years ago, the two nations’ our bilateral relations have made historic leaps forward from partnership, strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership.
“It is my great honour to be appointed as the sixth Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the People’s Republic of China to the Republic of South Africa. In the context of profound changes in the international situation and the COVID-19 pandemic unseen in a century, it is more imperative than ever for China and South Africa to strengthen solidarity and cooperation,” said Chen.
“As the new Chinese Ambassador to South Africa at this special juncture, I am keenly aware of my responsibility and mission. I will do my utmost to fulfill my duties by working with friends from all walks of life in South Africa to strive for greater progress in China-South Africa relations.”
Ambassador-designate Chen is no newcomer to the diplomatic world. Before assuming the post as the new Chinese ambassador to South Africa, he was the assistant foreign minister of China in charge of African affairs, and he has been involved in the rapid development of China-South Africa and China-Africa relations in different fields.
China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 11 years in a row, and South Africa has been China’s largest trading partner in Africa for 10 consecutive years. China’s total investment in South Africa is estimated to have exceeded USD$25 billion, creating more than 400,000 jobs for millions of people and giving a strong boost to South Africa’s economic and social development.
“Our cultural and people-to-people exchanges are getting closer and more frequent. We have established the first high-level people-to-people exchange mechanism between China and African countries. We have held the Year of China and the Year of South Africa in each other’s countries for the first time in the history of China-Africa relations,” said Chen.
“South Africa has attracted more Chinese tourists and established sister relations with more Chinese provinces and cities than any other Sub-Saharan African country. China has become an increasingly popular destination for South African students and tourists.”