According to the International Relations and Co-operation Department, Zuma’s state visit to China will be an opportunity to consolidate ties with African countries, where China is increasingly turning for resources, markets and diplomatic support.
“The state visit takes place within the context of strengthening South-South cooperation with the objective of deepening and broadening the current bilateral relations to a new Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between South Africa and China,” the department said.
During the visit, which begins on Monday, Zuma and China's Premier Wen Jiabao are expected sign a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership Agreement, which will be the first such agreement concluded by China with any other country. Government-to-government agreements would also be concluded in the areas of geology and mineral resources, environment management, transport and railways.
Zuma, who is accompanied by 12 ministers, will visit Beijing and Shanghai during the three-day visit.
A business seminar, involving more than 200 South African businesses will also be held in Beijing, where contracts between South African and Chinese companies will be signed.
South Africa's trade relations with China have expanded dramatically since 1998, the department said. China became South Africa's largest export destination by country at start of 2009, and was also South Africa's largest partner when it came to imports.
Total trade between the two countries was R119.7-billion in 2009, a growth of two percent over the R118-billion recorded in 2008, allowing China to overtake the United States as South Africa's biggest export destination.
However, trade statistics with China reflected the potential that still existed for expanding the commercial relationship. – BuaNews