|The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in China holds a ceremony to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China, in Beijing on January 18. [Women of China / Fan Wenjun]|
The Embassy of the Republic of South Africa in China celebrated the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between South Africa and China in Beijing on January 18.
The event took place at the city’s historic Diaoyutai State Guesthouse with support from the Chinese People's Association for Friendship with Foreign Countries (CPAFFC).
The celebration was attended by dignitaries, diplomats, government officials and business leaders.
“Our relations have since continued to grow from strength to strength, blossoming at all levels from trade and investment to education, science and research, arts and culture, media and journalism, and close political ties,” said South African Ambassador to China Dolana Msimang.
“Our solid ties not only provide a platform for continuing diplomatic engagement with one of our most important trading partners, but are also the key to broader engagement between our two countries, strengthening relations on every front.”
Msimang further remarked that the milestone was especially memorable, coinciding with the centennial anniversary of the birth of the ”father of modern South Africa”, Nelson Mandela.
|Xiangba Pingcuo, vice-chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, and Dolana Msimang, the ambassador of South Africa to China, cut a cake. [Women of China /Fan Wenjun]|
China’s support was integral to South Africa joining the BRICS group of co-operating global economies – Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Meanwhile, South Africa has the largest Chinese community in Africa, following a wave of immigration in the 1870s gold and diamond rushes, and significant settlements since the end of apartheid in 1994, raising the Chinese population to an estimated 300,000-400,000.
China has also become one of South Africa’s core tourism markets, with visitor numbers booming by a remarkable 38 percent in 2016 to 117,144 – or nearly 10,000 a month.
|Xiangba Pingcuo and Dolana Msimang inaugurate the event. [Women of China / Fan Wenjun]|
Dolana Msimang's daughter recites a poem for guests. [Women of China / Fan Wenjun]
At this growth rate, Chinese visitor spending is predicted to reach U.S.$ 100 million in 2017, making the country a major contributor to the tourism industry, which supports one in every 10 jobs in South Africa.
To encourage Chinese visitors, visa facilitation centers have been extended to nine Chinese cities, with two more planned, while direct Beijing-Johannesburg flights have established closer air links than ever before.
(Women of China)
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