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China-S Africa strategic partnership makes new progress: Top political advisor

CAPE TOWN, South Africa, March 30 (Xinhua) -- China's top political advisor Jia Qinglin said Monday that "China-South Africa strategic partnership has made new progress in recent years."

Jia, chairman of the National Committee of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC), China's top advisory body, made the remark while talking with Mninwa Mahlangu, chairman of the National Council of Provinces of South Africa in Cape Town.

During their talks, they pledged to upgrade strategic partnership between China and South Africa.

South Africa was the last leg of Jia's ten-day African tour which already took him to Cameroon and Namibia.

China and South Africa, which forged the strategic partnership on equality, mutual benefit and common development in 2007, have witnessed frequent high-level visits and developed deeper political trust, he said.

Mahlangu welcomed Jia's visit and reviewed the progress in bilateral cooperation since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1998.

China has become South Africa's biggest trade partner and exporter as bilateral trade volume hit a historic high of more than 16 billion U.S. dollars in 2009 despite the international financial crisis, according to the Chinese Customs.

Of African nations, South Africa was the one drawing the biggest number of Chinese tourists and students who pursued higher education in the country at the southern tip of Africa.

China and South Africa have supported each other on issues concerning their core and major interests, Jia said, adding the two countries have coordinated closely on international affairs.

Jia noted that South Africa would host the FIFA World Cup in summer, which is the first one to be staged in African continent.

"This is the glory and pride of all peoples in the African continent. We wish you a successful and wonderful World Cup," Jia told Mahlangu.

Looking to the future, Jia said China would like to work with South Africa to deepen cooperation in all fields and bring bilateral partnership to a new high.

Mahlangu proposed the two countries learn from each other and work closely in trade and investment. He also reaffirmed that South Africa would adhere to the one-China policy.

Jia and Mahlangu agreed on furthering the exchanges between the CPPCC and the National Council of Provinces of South Africa.

On China-Africa relations, Jia said China is committed to boosting the all-round relationship between the world's biggest developing country and the continent with the largest number of developing countries.

Jia said China has paid much attention to implementing the eight new measures introduced by Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao last November in Egypt, which included debt cancellation, agriculture production, infrastructure and education.

Jia said China would help African countries cope with the challenges of the international financial crisis and seek sustainable development.

Mahlangu praised the role of China-Africa Cooperation Forum, saying South Africa will work with China to carry out the mechanism and deepen China-Africa cooperation.

Jia will also travel to Johannesburg and Pretoria to continue his visit to the country. He is scheduled to meet with South African President Jacob Zuma on Tuesday afternoon.

Jia arrived in Cape Town on Sunday for an official visit to the country at the southern tip of Africa.

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