PRETORIA, South Africa, March 26 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping and his South African counterpart, Jacob Zuma, agreed here on Tuesday to further boost bilateral relationship and make it a strategic focus in their respective foreign policies.
Xi, on a state visit to South Africa, hailed the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations and said it carries increasing strategic significance and global influence.
China, he said, is ready to work with South Africa to build their ties into a role model both for the development of the new type of the China-Africa strategic partnership and for the solidarity and cooperation between large developing countries.
He urged both sides to strengthen strategic cooperation on global and regional affairs so as to safeguard the common interests not only of themselves but of the broader developing world.
For his part, Zuma said South Africa attaches strategic importance to its solidarity and cooperation with China, and is willing to work with China to achieve common development and pursue a more just and reasonable international order.
In a joint communique issued after their meeting, both leaders pledged to make "the bilateral relationship a strategic focus and priority in their respective foreign policies."
They also agreed to push the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership to a higher level, through broader and deeper cooperation in politics, economy and trade, people-to-people and cultural exchanges as well as in coordination and communication in regional and international affairs.
On economy and trade, an important driving force behind the bilateral relationship, Xi said China encourages its enterprises and financial institutions to invest in South Africa's priority areas, such as infrastructure, mining, energy and the auto industry.
Zuma said South Africa values China's role as its largest trading partner and hopes that more Chinese enterprises will invest in his country and help achieve a balanced growth of bilateral trade.
China and Africa will strive to encourage further expansion and optimization of the two-way trade, improvement of trade mix, promotion of trade balance and more trade in value-added goods, according to the communique.
Noting that people-to-people exchanges have flourished in recent years and laid a solid foundation for bilateral ties, both leaders also agreed to expand people-to-people exchanges, and designate 2014 as the "Year of South Africa" in China and 2015 as the "Year of China" in South Africa.
The Chinese president pledged cooperation with South Africa on African affairs, and vowed to play a constructive role in matters concerning African peace and security.
On the international front, the two countries called for upholding the legitimate rights and interests of developing countries and making the international order and system fairer and more equitable.
"The two sides appealed to countries all over the world to establish a more equal and balanced global partnership for development, and address global challenges through unity and cooperation for mutual benefit," the joint communique said.
They also called on the international community to pay more attention to and offer greater support for Africa, respect African countries' efforts to solve regional issues on their own, and help them enhance capability for self-generated growth.
South Africa is willing to work with China to boost the Africa-China cooperation, said Zuma, adding that his country is also ready to step up coordination with China under BRICS, G20 and other multilateral frameworks to advance the democratization of international relations.
Xi arrived here Monday for a state visit to South Africa, the third leg of his first foreign trip after he assumed Chinese presidency earlier this month.
Later Tuesday, Xi will travel to Durban for the summit of BRICS, an emerging-economy group consisting of Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa.
Under the theme of "BRICS and Africa: Partnership for Development, Integration and Industrialization," the summit will be joined by African leaders for promotion of regional development and integration.