South Africa is hosting the foreign minister of China on Friday, with his counterpart Naledi Pandor of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO) of South Africa welcoming him to Durban.
Pandor will host bilateral talks in Durban as Wang Yi begins a three-nation visit that also will take him to France and Switzerland.
Wang will meet with President Cyril Ramaphosa while he’s in South Africa, according to China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
“The aim of the visit is to implement the consensus of the two presidents (and) deepen mutual political trust,” said Chinese MFA spokesman Geng Shuang. The leaders will focus on Belt and Road Initiative cooperation as well as progress on China-Africa relations through the Forum on China-Africa Cooperation (FOCAC).
China hopes to take the relationship to a “new height in the new era,” Geng added, noting the collaborative work of the two nations through bodies including BRICS, the G20 and the United Nations.
The diplomatic visit in South Africa comes as China’s trade conflict with the United States and the battle for influence on the African continent continues, and amid the volatile developments in Syria and the Middle East.
Jerry Matjila, the South African ambassador to the United Nations and this month’s UN Security Council president, said earlier this week that the council is deeply concerned over the potential for Middle East escalation and the risks for terrorism.
Wang heads to Europe after his visit, where he will meet with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian and co-chair a high level meeting on cultural exchange. He’ll then meet in Switzerland with President Ueli Maurer, and co-chair a dialogue with Switzerland’s foreign minister, Ignazio Cassis.
Image: China MFA file