New Chi­nese am­bas­sador ar­rives in SA

The Star Early Edition - - POLITICS - NONI MOKATI

IN THE past few years, South Africa and China have worked hard to strengthen their re­la­tions. But it ap­pears there’s still am­ple room for growth.

This growth is the am­bi­tion driv­ing the new Chi­nese am­bas­sador to South Africa, Lin Song­tian.

He ar­rived at OR Tambo In­ter­na­tional Air­port yes­ter­day and wasted no time out­lin­ing his plans to fos­ter and im­prove diplo­matic ties be­tween the two coun­tries.

“It is my great hon­our to be able to serve as the Chi­nese am­bas­sador to South Africa at this im­por­tant time, as both of our coun­tries move to fur­ther eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

“I feel the tremen­dous re­spon­si­bil­ity en­trusted on me by the Chi­nese gov­ern­ment and the Chi­nese peo­ple. I will spare no ef­fort in ful­fill­ing my mis­sion,” Lin said.

He added that he will use his role as am­bas­sador to fol­low the prin­ci­ples of sin­cer­ity, prac­ti­cal re­sults, affin­ity and good faith as ad­vo­cated by China’s Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping.

China is South Africa’s big­gest trad­ing part­ner. It is also a ma­jor in­vestor in the econ­omy.

In De­cem­ber 2014, Pres­i­dent Ja­cob Zuma hosted Xi, stat­ing that the coun­try would re­main in a solid part­ner­ship with China.

Pub­lic Ad­min­is­tra­tion Min­is­ter Faith Muthambi in June touched on the po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic re­la­tion­ship be­tween the coun­tries, say­ing the gov­ern­ment thrives on en­sur­ing that the part­ner­ship is strength­ened.

She also an­nounced that up to 30 pub­lic of­fi­cials would be trav­el­ling to China in Novem­ber for train­ing.

This, she said, was part of the gov­ern­ment’s mem­o­ran­dum of un­der­stand­ing with China.

With high-level meet­ings hav­ing taken place, Lin has vowed to build on the plans that his na­tive coun­try has for South Africa.

FO­CUS­ING ON GROWTH: The new Chi­nese am­bas­sador, Lin Song­tian.

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