Media release

SA China relations strengthened

09 July 2004

9 July 2004

The Minister in The Presidency, Dr EG Pahad and Vice Minister Wang Guoqing, responsible for the State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China, today, Friday, 9 July 2004, signed a Letter of Intent on Friendly Co-operation and Exchanges between the two states.

This signing follows the recent second meeting of the South Africa - People's Republic of China Bilateral Commission in Pretoria.

The Letter of Intent is attached, along with background notes on the visit.

Background notes on the occasion of the visit by the State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China


The State Council Information Office (SCIO) of the People's Republic of China has been on a tour of South Africa. The office is represented by Vice Minister, Mr Wang Guoqing, Director General, Mr Zhoa Shouy, and Deputy Director General, Mr Ding Jian Baoming.

The visit is a sequel to a number of developments.

Most recently, at the invitation of Deputy President Jacob Zuma, Mr Zeng Qinghong, Vice President of the People's Republic of China, paid an official visit to South Africa between 26 and 29 June 2004, during which the South Africa - People's Republic of China Binational Commission met for the second time and a number of agreements were signed.

Information exchange

Last September, at the invitation of the State Council Press Office of the People's Republic of China, a GCIS delegation visited the PRC as part of our government's objective to learn from the communication experiences of other countries and share South African experiences with them.

During the visit the SA delegation interacted with a cross-section of government and major media groups. The meetings included the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, State Council of Information Office, China Radio International, China Daily, Xinhua News Agency, and the Wenhui Xinmin United Press Group.

Progress on mutual commitments made

Accordingly, during our visit to the PRC a number of commitments were made:

  • The promotion of exchange programmes between GCIS and the SCIO to enhance the quality of bilateral relations. It is envisioned that the exchange programmes would enable government communicators and journalists from both countries to share experience and skills and ensure cross-pollination of ideas on matters of mutual interest.
  • The facilitation of exchange programmes between South African and Chinese journalists to enhance an understanding of each other's information needs
  • Explore possibilities for interaction between the public broadcaster (SABC) and the Chinese Radio International (CRI), to promote mutual understanding of the two countries.
  • Possible collaboration between BuaNews, South African government news agency and Xinhua News Agency in terms of content exchange on issues of common interest as well as exchange and capacity building programmes.
  • Need for South Africa to share the experience of the International Marketing Council while benefiting from others' own international marketing campaigns.

Progress has been made in giving practical expression to the commitments made. The Letter of Intent on Friendly Co-operation and Exchanges between SCIO and GCIS was signed by Minister Pahad and Vice Minister, Mr Wang Guoqing on Friday, 9 July 2004.

GCIS has discussed with the public broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation (SABC) the issue of engaging substantively with the Chinese Radio International (CRI). During its visit, the delegation also met with the SABC.

With regard to the exchange programmes between South African and Chinese journalists, GCIS has engaged the South African National Editors Forum (SANEF). Such an exchange programme would enable journalists from both countries to share experience, skills and ensure cross-pollination of ideas. SANEF has welcomed the suggestion and indicated that they are willing to work with Chinese journalists to ensure that the proposals are taken forward. It has been agreed, as a start, that SANEF could undertake a fact-finding trip to China to get an overview of China and identify areas for possible collaboration.

The agreement on News Exchange and Cooperation between Xinhua News Agency and our own government news agency, BuaNews Agency is also closer to finality as well. It is our hope that this agreement will give concrete resonance to your core message to 'make the world to understand China better and for China to understand the world', and ours which seeks to portray South Africa as a country alive with possibilities.

In the area of international marketing, the CEO of the International Marketing Council met with the delegation with a view to facilitating sharing of experiences to learn from one another's efforts to promote our countries.

The Chinese delegation also visited the western Cape and met with a number of institutions including SA's International Marketing Council, the South African National Editors' Forum, Blue IQ and ICASA.

Letter of Intent on Friendly Co-Operation and Exchanges between Government Communication and Information System of South Africa and the State Council Information Office of China

During the visit to the Republic of South Africa by a delegation from the State Council Information Office of the People's Republic of China, headed by Vice Minister WANG Guoqing, from 5 to 9 July 2004, at the invitation of Dr Essop Pahad, Minister in The Presidency of the Republic of South Africa, also responsible for Government Communication and Information System, (GCIS). Dr Pahad and Mr WANG Guoqing held cordial talks and agreed on the following steps for further enhancing mutual co-operation and exchanges in the field of media and information between the parties:

  1. The Parties agree to promote mutual visits by high-level delegations of up to six persons every two years for a period of about seven days, starting from 2005. While international travel expenses will be covered by the visiting delegation, the expenses incurred during the visit will be borne by the host country, unless otherwise agreed to. The itinerary of the visits will be arranged by the host party at the request of the visiting party.
  2. The Parties will work vigorously to establish a work consultation mechanism and a relationship of continued co-operation.
  3. The Parties agree to exchange periodicals, books, electronic video and audio products, and other relevant media and information products of their respective countries.
  4. The Parties will actively promote exchanges and co-operation between the media organisations of the two countries, including the sending of journalists to cover news and actuality items.
  5. The Parties encourage the holding of seminars and workshops with the participation of media organisations of the two countries.
  6. The Parties will ensure that matters not covered in this Letter of Intent be decided upon through consultations between the Parties.

This Letter of Intent will enter into effect on the date of signature thereof and will remain valid for a period of two years. If neither Party lodges any objection against further co-operation within one month before its expiry, the validity period of this Letter of Intent will automatically be extended for another two years.

This Letter of Intent may be renounced by either Party giving three months' written notice in advance through the diplomatic channel of its intentions to terminate it.

Government Communications State Council Information Office and Information System, (GCIS) People's Republic of China Republic of South Africa

Nikhil Bramdaw
Cell: 083 777 6827

Issued by: Government Communications (GCIS)


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