In 2009, relations between the People's Republic of China and the Republic of South Africa continued to grow in a smooth and all-round way, and their strategic partnership further deepened.
The two countries maintained close high-level contact and exchanges. In May, President Hu Jintao sent a telegram of congratulations to President Jacob Zuma on his election and CPPCC Vice Chairman Abdul'ahat Abdulrixit attended President Zuma's inauguration ceremony as President Hu's special envoy. On 8 July, State Councilor Dai Bingguo, attending the dialogue between leaders of the G8 and major developing countries on behalf of President Hu, met with President Zuma. On 22 September, President Hu met President Zuma during the 64th Session of the UN General Assembly. They both commended progress made in bilateral relations in recent years and agreed that China and South Africa would deepen friendly exchanges and cooperation in all areas, strengthen coordination and cooperation on international affairs and work together for comprehensive and in-depth development of China-South Africa strategic partnership. On 13 December, Premier Wen Jiabao had a telephone conversation with President Zuma and they exchanged views on climate change.
Dialogue and consultations between the foreign ministries of the two countries further intensified. In January, Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi visited South Africa, during which he met with President Kgalema Motlanthe and held talks with Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Dlamini Zuma. In June, Foreign Minister Yang met with the new International Relations and Cooperation Minister Maite Nkoana-Mashabane on the sidelines of the UN Conference at the Highest Level on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and Its Impact on Development, and they exchanged views on the global economic and financial situation and others. In September, Assistant Foreign Minister Zhai Jun visited South Africa and co-chaired with Deputy Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Ebrahim Ebrahim the second strategic dialogue between the two foreign ministries. In November, Minister Yang and Minister Nkoana-Mashabane met again during the Fourth Ministerial Conference of the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation in Sharm-el-Sheikh, Egypt.
Exchanges between political parties were robust. In November, member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and Secretary of the Committee of Political and Legislative Affairs of the CPC Central Committee Zhou Yongkang paid a visit to South Africa. During the visit, he met with President Zuma, who also held the presidency of the ruling African National Congress (ANC), and attended the welcoming ceremony hosted by ANC Secretary General Gwede Mantashe. In December, member of the Standing Committee of the Jilin Provincial Party Committee and Secretary of the Changchun Municipal Party Committee Gao Guangbin attended and addressed the Special National Congress of the South African Communist Party (SACP) as the representative of the CPC, and met with SACP General Secretary Blade Nzimande. In July, an SACP delegation of 11 people made a study tour to China and met with Vice Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Liu Jieyi. In October, ANC Secretary General Mantashe visited China, during which he met with Secretary Zhou Yongkang and Minister of the International Department of the CPC Central Committee Wang Jiarui, and held talks with Vice Minister of the International Department Li Jinjun. During November and December, the first delegation of 18 people from the ANC National Executive Committee came to China on a study mission. They met Secretary Zhou Yongkang, member of the Political Bureau and the Secretariat of the CPC Central Committee and Minister of the Organization Department of the CPC Central Committee Li Yuanchao, Minister Wang Jiarui and Vice Minister Li Jinjun. Besides Beijing, the delegation also visited Chongqing and Shanghai.
Inter-parliamentary exchanges further expanded. In September, NPC Vice Chairman Hua Jianmin met with Speaker of the National Assembly Max Vuyisile Sisulu during the summit of parliamentary speakers from the G8 and emerging countries in Rome. In November, member of the Political Bureau of the CPC Central Committee and NPC Vice Chairman Wang Zhaoguo visited South Africa. He met with acting President Motlanthe, Speaker Sisulu, acting Chairperson of the National Council of Provinces Thandi Memela and Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Athol Trollip, and held talks with Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly Nomaindia Mfeketo. The two sides had in-depth exchanges of views on bilateral relations as well as international and regional issues of common interest. They agreed to step up inter-parliamentary exchanges to draw on each other's strength and inject fresh impetus into bilateral ties.
Economic and trade cooperation maintained the momentum of growth. Despite a decline in bilateral trade due to the international financial crisis, China and South Africa's share in the other's external trade increased and bilateral trade became more balanced. Mutual investment continued to expand, covering such areas as mineral resources development, finance, home appliance, culture and many others. In March, the China-Africa Development Fund opened its South African representative office in Johannesburg. In May, Vice Commerce Minister Jiang Yaoping visited South Africa, during which he held talks with Minister of Trade and Industry Rob Davies and Minister of Economic Development Ebrahim Patel, and attended the China-South Africa trade and investment forum. In June, Vice Commerce Minister Yi Xiaozhun met Minister Davies on the margins of the OECD Ministerial Council Meeting in Paris and exchanged views with him on South-South cooperation and the Doha Round negotiations. In August, Deputy Trade and Industry Minister Thandi Tobias-Pokolo led a delegation of South African entrepreneurs to China for trade and investment promotion.
Military-to-military exchanges increased. In April, the South African Naval Forces sent a delegation to the commemorative activities for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the PLA Navy. General Secretary of the CPC central committee, President of the People's Republic of China and Chairman of the CPC Central Military Commission Hu Jintao met Vice Admiral Johannes Mudimu, Chief of the South African Navy and head of the delegation, and so did Navy Commander General Wu Shengli.
Bilateral exchanges and cooperation in science and technology, culture, religion and press made new headway. In 2009, President of the Natural Science Foundation of China Chen Yiyu visited South Africa. The promotional activities of the 2010 Shanghai Expo and a photo exhibition on the splendid ancient culture of Henan took place in South Africa. Minister of the State Administration for Religious Affairs Ye Xiaowen and a delegation of Chinese Tibetologists visited South Africa, and President of the United Ulama Council of South Africa Ebrahim Gabriels visited China. Minister of the State Council Information Office Wang Chen visited South Africa, and South African journalists representing the Sowetan and other news agencies visited Guangzhou and Beijing and covered the celebrations for the 60th anniversary of the founding of the People's Republic of China as part of developing countries' press pool.
Exchanges between localities maintained a sound momentum. In September, a delegation of more than 90 artists from Beijing took part in the fifth Gauteng carnival in Johannesburg and their performance was very well-received. In November, a delegation from Xianyang, Shaanxi Province, visited Matjhabeng Municipality, Free State, to conclude an MOU on the establishment of sister-city relations. In the same month, Mayor of Johannesburg Amos Masondo paid a visit to Shanghai and signed an MOU on friendly exchanges. Secretary of Anhui Provincial Party Committee and Chairman of the Standing Committee of the Anhui Provincial People's Congress Wang Jinshan and Deputy Secretary of Guangxi Zhuang Autonomous Region Party Committee Chen Jiwa visited South Africa.