Remarks by Consul General Fei Mingxing at the Reception Celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Establishment of the Diplomatic Relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa & Spring Festival
2023-01-21 14:27

(January 20, 2023, Durban ICC)

Hon Themba Mthembu, Acting Speaker of the KwaZulu-Natal Provincial Legislature

Hon Velenkosini Hlabisa, President of the Inkatha Freedom Party

Councillor Nkosehle Madlala, Representing the Mayor of the Ethekwini Municipality

Her Majesty Nompumelelo Mchiza, Zulu Queen Mother

Major General Chris Ngcobo, Deputy Provincial Commissioner

Diplomatic colleagues

Members of Chinese community

Ladies and gentlemen, friends

Good afternoon. And how are you? 

It’s been three years since we gathered at the Spring Festival Gala 2020 in Durban City Hall.

The past three years has seen the whole world fighting Covid-19. With tenacious efforts of ours, major progress has been made. In June 2022, South African government lifted COVID-19 restrictions in the country. As of January 8, 2023, China optimized its response and downgraded its management of COVID-19 from Class A to Class B. While working on economic and social normalcy, we are grateful to those who have fought against the pandemic in South Africa, China and the rest of the world. They are heroes of our times.

Today, we are here to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa, which came into effect on January 1, 1998.

Over the past 25 years, China-South Africa relations have achieved a major leap from the partnership, the strategic partnership to the comprehensive strategic partnership. Chinese President Xi Jinping had paid three state visits to South Africa.


Over the past 25 years, our trade volume has increased from the  $1.4 billion in 1998 to $56.7 billion in 2022. China has been South Africa's largest trading partner for 14 consecutive years and South Africa has become China's largest trading partner in Africa for 13 consecutive years. China’s cumulative investment in South Africa has exceeded $25 bn, creating more than 400,000 local jobs.

Over the past 25 years, our special friendly relations of "comrades plus brothers" have been bringing tangible benefits to the two peoples. The first Luban Workshop in South Africa has trained more than 1000 young people. We supported each other in fighting Covid-19 and other bilateral and multilateral areas.

President Xi Jinping sent a message to President Cyril Ramaphosa to express his condolences after the severe floods in April 2022. Chinese companies & community members especially those in KZN, provided funds and materials to brothers & sisters affected by the violence in July 2021 and the floods. I hope they are well now.

As the Chinese saying goes: we shouldn't forget those who dug the well when we drink the water. On the occasion of the 25th anniversary, we salute all of those who have made their contributions to the establishment of diplomatic relations and the development of friendly cooperation between China and South Africa!

Mr Wing Fut Ma is one of them. He is with us today. Can we give him a round of applause? 

Some will be remembered for ever, among which is His Majesty Goodwill Zwelithini.

We thank all guests present today, you are valued contributors too! Thank you!

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

25 years of achievements have been wonderful, and looking forward to the future is full of expectations. Though this is an era fraught with challenges, it is also one brimming with hope.

The 20th National Congress of the Communist Party of China in 2022 has drawn an ambitious blueprint for building a modern socialist country in all respects and advancing the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation on all fronts through a Chinese path to modernization. China has always been committed to its foreign policy goals of upholding world peace and promoting common development, and is dedicated to promoting a human community with a shared future.

“When China wins, South Africa and our continent win.”said a South African friend.

In the congratulatory message to Cyril Ramaphosa on his re-election as President of ANC, General Secretary of the CPC Central Committee Xi Jinping said that he is ready to work with President Ramaphosa to steer the relations between the two parties and two countries to a higher level to jointly build a China-Africa community with a shared future in the new era and a human community with a shared future.

Three days ago, Chinese Foreign Minister Qin Gang concluded his maiden overseas trip. This is the 33rd consecutive year that Africa has been the destination of Chinese foreign ministers’ annual first overseas visit.

This year, South Africa will be hosting the 15th BRICS Summit as the Chair. China and South Africa are working closely on cooperation and partnership within the context of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation. The Confucius Institute at Durban University of Technology will celebrate its 10th anniversary. More Chinese companies plan to start or expand their business in KZN. South Africa Commodity China (Dongguan) Exhibition and Trade Center is to launch. Chinese players are coming to World Table Tennis matches in Durban in May.

This year, on January 1, I made a special tour to the Nelson Mandela Capture Site and laid a flower basket in honour of the great leader. “When people are determined they can overcome anything,” he said. After 25 years, we are more than determined of the bright future of our relations. Let us march arm in arm and shoulder to shoulder, into the next 25 years and more, for the shared interests of both countries and peoples !

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

The day after tomorrow will be the first day of the Chinese New Year 2023, the year of Rabbit. I wish you and your family good health, happiness and prosperity.

May the friendship between the People’s Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa last forever!

Ladies and gentlemen, friends,

Taking this opportunity, I am officially bidding farewell to you. My tenure of duties shall conclude next month. I don’t have time to go over our shared joys of celebrations, joint efforts for projects and fight against Covid-19, and all others. I just want to say THANK YOU. A poem writes: Goodbyes seem like the end/But we will always be friends. I’m leaving Durban soon, but Durban stays in my heart forever!

Thank you! Thank you Durban! Ngiyabonga!