South African president Cyril Ramaphosa and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping discussed improvements to their economic partnership and the conflict in Ukraine ahead of the BRICS summit starting Tuesday in Johannesburg.
Xi Jinping arrived for a state visit in Pretoria as both countries pledged to strengthen economic ties on the sidelines of the summit.
"China is South Africa's largest trading partner, and South Africa is China's biggest trading partner in Africa. We've discussed the need to narrow the trade deficit between South Africa and China, and that one of the ways to do so is by ensuring greater market access for value added South African goods that can be exported to the Chinese market," said President Ramaphosa.
The leaders signed several agreements and memoranda of cooperation in various trade and economic sectors.
The two countries have maintained close coordination and cooperation in international affairs, which has effectively promoted their respective development and revitalization, and made positive contributions to safeguarding the common interests of developing countries.
Xi reiterated that no matter how the international situation changes, the two sides will remain committed to deepening bilateral friendly cooperation.
Receiving the Order of South Africa by President Ramaphosa, Xi Jinping heralds the golden age of China-Africa partnership and vows to support Africa’s access to G20.
Noting that he will treasure the honour, which symbolizes the friendship between the two peoples, Xi pledged to unswervingly push for the continuous development of China-South Africa relations.
“We firmly support the construction of African integration. We will support substantial progress of the African Union’s accession to the G20 this year. We support South Africa to play a greater role in international and regional affairs,” declared the Chinese President.
South Africa has maintained its relationship with China and Russia, despite criticism of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and China’s trade war with the West.
Jinping’s visit comes as China and Russia look to gain more political and economic ground in the developing world amid worsening tensions with Western powers.
Ramaphosa and Xi later joined leaders of Brazil and India in Johannesburg for the start of the BRICS summit, where Russian President Vladimir Putin joined virtually.