Xi calls on China, South Africa to continue striving for closer ties
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PRETORIA, July 24 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping on Tuesday called on China and South Africa to continue striving to develop closer ties and join hands to achieve their dreams in development.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping addresses a banquet hosted by his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa for his state visit and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic ties between China and South Africa, in Pretoria July 24, 2018. (Xinhua/Xie Huanchi)

"There is huge potential for bilateral ties, but we cannot stop racing ahead. As the two countries embark on a new journey of development, we should work hand in hand and heart to heart to assist each other in achieving our dreams in development," he said.

Xi made the remarks while attending a welcome banquet hosted by his South African counterpart, Cyril Ramaphosa, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties between China and South Africa.

The two countries established diplomatic ties on Jan. 1, 1998, opening a new chapter in bilateral ties.

"The China-South Africa relationship has taken a major leap forward over the past 20 years," Xi said, adding that the rapid development of ties not only embodies the constant deepening of China-Africa cooperation, but also manifests the solidarity and coordination between major developing countries.

Such fruitful outcomes of bilateral ties in just 20 years mainly resulted from the fact that the two sides always support and rely on each other, maintain mutual respect and trust, and promote mutual understanding and win-win cooperation, he said.

Xi called on the two sides to bear in mind the big picture of the direction of bilateral ties, cement political mutual trust, and always treat each other as sincere comrades and brothers sharing weal and woe.

He also urged the two sides to constantly tap their development potential, advance practical cooperation, strengthen mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples, and promote people-to-people exchanges.

The two countries should enhance high-level strategic coordination and continue to support each other in international affairs, so as to jointly build a new type of international relations and a community with a shared future for mankind, Xi said.

For his part, Ramaphosa extended warm welcome to Xi, saying that he was glad to celebrate with the Chinese president the 20th anniversary of diplomatic ties.

Hailing the close contact between the two ruling parties, countries and peoples, as well as the sound cooperation on bilateral, regional and global level, Ramaphosa said that South Africa-China relationship is at the best period in history.

Xi's visit shows that the South Africa-China relationship is of strategic significance, surpassing the usual scope of bilateral ties, he said.

The South African president also pledged to implement the consensus reached between the two sides and deepen all-round cooperation in such areas as economy, trade, technology and people-to-people exchanges.