China, SA cel­e­brate Hong Kong’s suc­cess

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD - NONI MOKATI

SATUR­DAY marks 20 years since Hong Kong was handed back to China by Bri­tain – a mile­stone the Chi­nese are hon­oured by.

“Over the past 20 years, Hong Kong has made solid progress in its demo­cratic de­vel­op­ment. To­day, the peo­ple of Hong Kong en­joy un­prece­dented demo­cratic rights and greater free­dom than ever be­fore in their history,” Li Song, Charge d’Af­faires of the Chi­nese Em­bassy in South Africa said yes­ter­day.

Li was speak­ing at a re­cep­tion hosted by the em­bassy in the cap­i­tal city which cel­e­brated the 20th an­niver­sary of Hong Kong’s re­turn to the moth­er­land.

He pointed out that over the last two decades the re­gion has over­come many chal­lenges in­clud­ing the 1997 Asian fi­nan­cial cri­sis as well as the 2008 re­ces­sion cri­sis but said de­spite this, the re­gion has be­come an in­flu­en­tial mem­ber of the in­ter­na­tional com­mu­nity.

He also added that the Hong Kong Spe­cial Ad­min­is­tra­tive Re­gion’s re­turn to its moth­er­land and the im­ple­men­ta­tion of the “one coun­try, two sys­tems” would have been im­pos­si­ble with­out the sup­port of South Africa and other for­eign coun­tries.

“In June 1997, China and South Africa reached an agree­ment on a joint com­mu­nique, es­tab­lish­ing diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries. In a space of 20 years, the re­la­tions be­tween South Africa and China have achieved a triple jump from part­ner­ship to strate­gic part­ner­ship, and later a com­pre­hen­sive part­ner­ship, which is un­der­pinned by three ma­jor pil­lars which are strate­gic mu­tual trust, eco­nomic and trade co­op­er­a­tion and the peo­ple-to-peo­ple ex­change,” he said.

Li said in a few weeks the em­bassy would have a new am­bas­sador who is highly fond of Africa and its peo­ple, and has deep knowl­edge of the con­ti­nent’s af­fairs.

In De­cem­ber 2015, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma co-chaired the Fo­rum on China-Africa Co­op­er­a­tion Sum­mit in Joburg, so­lid­i­fy­ing re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries.

Pub­lic Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter, Faith Muthambi, who joined Li in the cel­e­bra­tions at the em­bassy said: “The suc­cess of Hong Kong and Main­land China has un­doubt­edly proven that the “One Coun­try, two sys­tems” works. Many in other parts of the world were cyn­i­cal about per­ceived dif­fer­ent mod­els of de­vel­op­ment, dif­fer­ent sys­tems and ide­o­log­i­cal ori­en­ta­tion.”

Muthambi high­lighted that the co-op­er­a­tion be­tween South Africa and China on crit­i­cal is­sues such as the re­form of mul­ti­lat­eral in­sti­tu­tions, fi­nan­cial gover­nance, the global econ­omy, and cli­mate change re­main para­mount adding that the two coun­tries needed to work col­lab­o­ra­tively to­wards a com­mon goal of achiev­ing de­vel­op­ment and erad­i­cat­ing poverty.

Abroad, Xi Jin­ping ar­rived in Hong Kong on Thurs­day to mark the 20-year an­niver­sary and is ex­pected to hon­our the re­gion on its achieve­ments through­out the years.

Pub­lic Ser­vice and Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi with Li Song, Charge d’Af­faires of the Chi­nese Em­bassy in South Africa.

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