Monday, October 30, 2006

President Thabo Mbeki Plans to Visit Beijing for China-Africa Summit

Mbeki to attend Beijing Summit on China-Africa cooperation

South African President Thabo Mbeki will lead a senior government delegation to China on November 3 for the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC) Summit of Heads of State and Government in Beijing scheduled from November 4 to 5.

Ronnie Mamoepa, spokesman for the Department of Foreign Affairs, said in a statement issued here on Sunday that Mbeki will participate in this Summit within the context of South Africa's commitment to consolidate the African agenda through South-South cooperation including cooperation projects through the New Africa- Asia Strategic Partnership (NAASP).

He said that South Africa and the Peoples' Republic of China are in addition, members of the Group of 77 + China, which is the largest coalition of developing countries outside of the United Nations. South Africa currently chairs the G-77 + China.

The Summit will include a Roundtable discussion in addition to a High-Level Dialogue between Chinese-African Leaders and Business Communities. The Roundtable will be chaired by Chinese President Hu Jintao and Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi.

The Summit is expected to explore opportunities for concrete and practical cooperation on NEPAD implementation and to explore the linkages with the Sino-Africa process in the 18 economic and social development fields identified in the "Beijing Declaration" of 2000 and "Programme for China and Africa Cooperation in Economic and Social Development (2000)", as well as the areas of cooperation identified in the "Forum on China-Africa Cooperation - Addis Ababa Action Plan 2004-2006" document adopted in 2003.

The spokesman said that the Summit is expected to adopt a Declaration and an Action Plan (2007-2009).

Speaking about China-South Africa Relations, he said, South Africa's strategic engagement with China is located within the country's key foreign policy priorities, which are shaped by our domestic priorities and include such as poverty alleviation, the equitable distribution of wealth, peace and security, and the creation of a better life for all.

Countries in the Southern Hemisphere share many of the same social and developmental challenges, including those induced by globalization and historic inequity. The interdependent global order with a multipolar dimension means that like-minded countries have to form alliances on common issues, he added.

He said that South Africa's relations with China are an example of such an alliance that advances South Africa's bilateral, regional, trilateral and multilateral agendas.

In this regard, he said, China represents an enormous opportunity for South Africa and Africa, but at the same time poses certain challenges. The sheer size of the Chinese market, its untapped potential, its population size, its explosive growth, its membership of the UN Security Council and its emergence as a major global power all present opportunities.

"China is also a key player in the expansion of South-South cooperation as we seek to maximize the opportunities presented by globalization and reduce the negative effects. China can be a key ally in the fight to reform the international political, financial and trade architecture (in the UN, IMF, and WTO)," he said.

Source: Xinhua

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