By Shao Haijun
CAPE TOWN, SOUTH AFRICA, May 27 (Xinhua) -- South Africa and China have strengthened bilateral ties not only at the state-to- state level, but the parliamentary level, a senior researcher from the Cape Town office of Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) told Xinhua in an exclusive interview.
The comments were made on Thursday on the visit by China's top legislator Wu Bangguo.
Wu, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress of China, is paying an official goodwill visit to South Africa at the invitation of Speaker of South African National Assembly Max Sisulu on May 23-28.
"It is a critical feature of diplomacy because it does not stay at state level, but goes further in agenda much more important relations that come off parliament terrain. The parliament, especially in South Africa, is an important legislature (as) it play override role (in national affairs)." said Sanusha Naidu, senior researcher of Africa and global south unit of HSRC, with at least seven years of study of China.
HSRC is the national social science council of South Africa which conducts large-scale, policy-relevant, social-scientific projects for public-sector users, non-governmental organizations and international development agencies.
When talking about the growing relations between South Africa and China, Ms Naidu put national and African continental perspectives on the table.
"Firstly we need to see what (China's) strategically relation to South Africa, in terms of South Africa's foreign policy, BRICS' membership becomes a cornerstone to south Africa's foreign policy, " she said.
Last December, South Africa was invited to join the group of emerging countries known as BRIC (Brazil, Russia, India and China) , and attended the third BRICS Summit in April in China.
"At (President) Zuma's presidency, we have seen a systematic tempt to establish great ties consolidate and strengthen tie through BRIC. You see a kind of emergence of south-south cooperation," she added.
She stressed that South Africa and China have common interest in strengthening cooperation and collaboration in reforming international financial institution, as well as international system.
"From strategic in global level China and south Africa try to pursue common ideology, common identity with regard to their common interest surround multi-lateral in reforming international system and doing it through the platform of BRICS, G20, United Nation Security Council, and of course also promotes south-south cooperation in the process as well," she said.
South Africa is the biggest economy and serves as a development hub for Africa continent.
"I think from more continental perspective, South Africa sees the relationship with China in the context of promoting the Africa agenda the Africa development space. China and South Africa would hopefully have common thinking around what they pursue not only being benefit to South Africa, but in great benefit of the continent. There would be areas tried to be pushed ahead of Africa' s integration into global economy," she argued.
Wu met here with South African President Jacob Zuma on Wednesday. The two sides voiced call for all-round cooperation and richer content of the comprehensive strategic partnership and strengthened bilateral coordination.
Since 2009, China has been South Africa's biggest trade partner with the bilateral trade volume of 16 billion U. S. dollars.
Last August, leaders of China and South Africa signed the "Beijing Declaration" to develop the strategic partnership of the two countries, following the surge of investment to South Africa diversifying various areas including finance, IT, mining and biotechnology.
"On a much more basic level, we would like to see how does South Africa's relationship with China in agenda with promoting our own development, from national perspective, what kind of investment and trade that can help us with our new growth initiative, our macro economic policy and also prioritize areas of our own domestic economy," she said.
Ms Naidu regards China's trade and investment as catalyst of South Africa's economy in terms of investment which helps to realize the country's New Growth initiative. But she also said the investment which can promote skill development and job creation would be much favored by local people.