PRETORIA, April 24 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong on Monday hailed Sino-South African relationship as an example for solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa and between major developing countries.
Inspired by their time-tested friendship, China and South Africa have been committed to developing a special relationship as one between comrades and brothers, Liu told the first meeting of the China-South Africa High Level People to People Exchange Mechanism (PPEM).
Since the establishment of diplomatic ties in 1998, bilateral relationship has developed across the board and has been upgraded from a partnership to a strategic partnership, and then to a comprehensive strategic partnership, she said.
The past five years saw two visits by President Xi Jinping to South Africa, three visits by President Jacob Zuma to China, numerous meetings between the two presidents on bilateral and multilateral occasions, and in-depth exchanges between Premier Li Keqiang and President Zuma, said the Chinese vice premier.
"Our bilateral relationship has maintained a strong momentum and kept enriching itself," she said. "It is now in its best time ever."
Under the China-South Africa Five-to-Ten Year Strategic Program for Cooperation signed in 2014, the two sides conducted wide-ranging cooperation in areas such as industrialization, special economic zones, marine economy, infrastructure, human resource development, finance and culture.
With a two-way trade volume of 35.3 billion U.S. dollars, China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for eight consecutive years.
As important members of BRICS and the G20, China and South Africa have been making joint contribution to China-Africa cooperation, South-South cooperation and global governance, serving as an example for solidarity and cooperation between China and Africa and between major developing countries, Liu added.