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President Hu Jintao Meets with His South African Counterpart Mbeki

On July 8, 2008, Chinese President Hu Jintao met with his South African counterpart Thabo Mbeki in Sapporo, capital of Japan's Hokkaido prefecture.

On China-South Africa relations, Hu said the ties have witnessed comprehensive and in-depth development since his visit to South Africa early last year. There has been further expansion in trade and investment, and fresh headways have been made in bilateral cooperation in areas such as culture, education, science and technology, and health and tourism, he noted. The two sides have offered understanding and support for each other on major issues of respective concern and maintained close coordination in international affairs, he added. This year marks the 10th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries and both sides have organized various celebration activities. China is willing to join hands with South Africa to take this opportunity to lift the bilateral strategic partnership to a new level, Hu said.

The Chinese president's remarks were echoed by South Africa's President Thabo Mbeki, who said he will continue to push forward the bilateral strategic partnership and is looking forward to visiting China again.

On the issue of Zimbabwe, the South African leader said the fate of the country should be determined by the Zimbabwean people, and Article 7 of the UN Charter should not be cited to impose sanctions on the south-central African nation. African countries maintain that the political parties of Zimbabwe need to reach an agreement on a unity government through dialogue and cooperation to defuse the current crisis, added Mbeki.

Hu expressed China's concern over the situation in Zimbabwe and his hope that the parties concerned will patch up their differences through dialogue and restore national stability at an early date. A few days ago, the African Union summit adopted a resolution on the Zimbabwe issue, appealing to the international community not to take any action that may affect the atmosphere of dialogue. He said China respects and values the position of African countries, and expects the international community to increase positive efforts to facilitate the solution of the Zimbabwe issue. Hu also lauded the steadfast efforts made by President Mbeki to promote a proper resolution of the political crisis in Zimbabwe. China supports Southern African Development Community (SADC) to continue its mediation of the issue.

During the meeting, President Mbeki also offered his condolences over the casualties and property losses caused by the recent devastating earthquake in southwest China's Sichuan province, and wished the Beijing Olympic Games a great success. Hu expressed thanks for Mbeki's remarks.

Ling Jihua, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee (CPCCC) and Director of the General Office of the CPC Central Committee, Wang Huning, member of the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee (CPCCC) and Director of the Policy Research Office of the CPC Central Committee, and State Councilor Dai Bingguo attended the meeting.

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