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H.E. Ambassador-Designate Lin Songtian arrives in SA

10 October 2017

Speaking to the press upon his arrival at O.R Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, Ambassador–Designate Lin Songtian said he is back in South Africa, recalling his many visits to the country before.

Having served on the African Continent, as Ambassador to Malawi and Liberia and having visited many African countries, he has considerable experience in China – Africa relations.  

“Since the very first time when I set foot on the African continent in 1999, I have fostered a deep commitment to the cause of China-Africa friendship and cooperation and thereafter forged an unbreakable bond with my African friends,” he said.

Dr. Anil Sooklal, Head of Asia relations at the South African Department of International Relations who met Ambassador-Designate Lin on his arrival, referred to the caliber of the representative from China as an indication of the relations between China and South Africa.

Also present to greet the incoming Ambassador were members of the Chinese community of South Africa.


Remarks by H.E. Ambassador-Designate Lin Songtian upon his arrival in South Africa for the assumption of duty

It is my great honor to be the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Rainbow Nation of South Africa. First and foremost, let me express my deep and sincere appreciation to all the colleagues and friends for coming all the way to the airport to receive my wife and myself.

I was born in the 1960s and witnessed the great transformation of China starting from scratch and growing from an underdeveloped country to a prosperous one in the past four decades. I feel very privileged to be a participant and constructor to this historical process and feel very proud for such a motherland and people like China. I am strongly convinced that under the strong leadership of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of China with Comrade Xi Jinping as its core, the Chinese Dream of great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation will definitely come true .

Since the very first time when I set foot on the African continent in 1999, I have fostered a deep commitment to the cause of China-Africa friendship and cooperation and thereafter forged an unbreakable bond with my African friends. During my tenure as the Chinese Ambassador to Liberia and Malawi respectively and visits to 30 African countries, I was deeply impressed by the sincere friendship, equal brotherhood and mutual beneficial partnership between China and Africa. Since June of 2014, I have also been privileged to be the Director-General for African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry and the Secretary-General of the Chinese Follow-up Committee of the FOCAC and spared no efforts to promote the upgrading of China-Africa friendly and mutually beneficial cooperation. Africa is a continent boasting huge potential for development. China and Africa share mutual needs and complementarities and face a rare historic opportunity for the connection of their development strategies.

South Africa is the country that I paid the most trips to. Although I cannot remember exactly how many times, every trip to South Africa left me with fresh impression and fond memories so as to fall in deep love with this beautiful country and friendly people. The year of 2015 is the most unforgettable one when I visited South Africa four times and worked closely with my South African colleagues to make the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit a full success. It is the first time that the China-Africa summit was held on the African continent. At the summit, H.E. Chinese President Xi Jinping announced that in the following three years, China and Africa would focus on implementing the Ten Major Cooperative Plans to boost the acceleration of industrialization and agricultural modernization in Africa. At this summit, the Leaders of China and Africa all agreed to elevate China-Africa relations to a comprehensive strategic for cooperative partnership, opening up a new era of win-win cooperation for common development between China and Africa. “The Summit was perfect and extraordinary”, as President Xi put it, marking a historical milestone in China-Africa relations and building up new momentum in China-Africa cooperation. With Joint efforts of both China and Africa, the FOCAC Johannesburg Summit has been bearing fruits across the African continent, delivering tangible benefits to both Chinese and African people and lighting up new hope for Africa’s development.

South Africa is a country with rich natural resources, and is famous for its social inclusiveness, well regulated market, and well established legal system. As the strongest economy in Africa, South Africa boasts huge potential. And all of these give China-South Africa cooperation new opportunities to grow.

As major emerging powers of the international community, both China and South Africa are co-chairs of FOCAC, and are important members of BRICS, G20, the United Nations, and other multilateral fora. Together, China and South Africa are playing increasingly important roles in regional and international affairs, in safeguarding world peace and promoting common development.

Currently, China-South Africa relationship has come into its best historical moment. The two countries enjoy unprecedented political and strategic mutual trust, fruitful mutually beneficial business cooperation, and profound friendship between our two peoples. Both China and South Africa regard developing our bilateral ties as its high priority. We always support each other on issues related to our respective core interest and major concerns, and we are working constantly to deepen our comprehensive strategic partnership. South Africa has already become China’s biggest trading partner, and the most important investment and tourist destination in Africa. China has in accumulative terms, made over 15 billion US dollars of direct investment in South Africa. People-to-people exchange between China and South Africa is also thriving. Each and very year, a large and increasing number of Chinese people come to South Africa to travel, work and study. The High-Level People-to-People Exchange Mechanism that we have established is the first of its kind between China and Africa. Also for the first time in China-Africa relations, China and South Africa have organized the Year of China in South Africa and the Year of South Africa in China.

2018 will mark the 20th anniversary of establishing diplomatic ties between China and South Africa. It is my great honor to be able to serve as the Chinese Ambassador to South Africa at this important moment, as both of our countries move to further economic transformation. I feel the tremendous responsibility entrusted upon myself from the Chinese government and the Chinese people. I will spare no efforts in fulfilling my mission. As the Chinese Ambassador, I will serve as bridge and work together with South African friends from all walks of life to upgrade our relations to a new high and more productive and beneficial to our two countries and people. As I promote China’s relations with South Africa, I will earnestly follow the principles of sincerity, practical results, affinity and good faith and uphold the values of friendship, justice and shared interests, as advocated by the Chinese President Xi Jinping. Building on our three strengths of political mutual trust, economic complementarity, and the friendship between our two peoples, I will work further to promote the comprehensive implementation of the important agreements reached between our two Presidents, as well as the Ten Major China-Africa Cooperative Plans. I will make full efforts to facilitate our mutually beneficial cooperation across the board, with the goal of making China-South Africa cooperation an excellent new model for South-South cooperation and a robust locomotive that leads Africa’s industrialization. I will focus my efforts on supporting South Africa’s economic development, job creation, poverty reduction, and its pursuit of inclusive and transformation development. I’m full of confidence that jointly working together, we can constantly translate our development strengths and potential into concrete and fruitful results that our two peoples, particularly the grassroots population in South Africa, can feel and can actually enjoy.





February/March 2020








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