Johannesburg – China has hailed South Africa on its response to the Covid-19 pandemic as that country celebrated its national day and marked the 71st anniversary since the People’s Republic of China was founded.
The virus, which was first identified in China in December, last year, has developed into a global pandemic that ravaged economies around the world.
China’s new ambassador to South Africa, Che Xiaodong, said despite the Asian country’s socio-economic setbacks that were triggered by Covid-19, China had taken responsibility by providing assistance to impacted countries around the world.
He maintained that China was however pleased that South Africa was succeeding in its fight against the virus through the enforcement of lockdown to prevent further imports of the coronavirus.
“All those decisive measures have demonstrated the remarkable leadership of President Cyril Ramaphosa and the ANC government,” Che said.
He said China had also helped South Africa in the fight against the virus through the provision of critical Covid-19 medical supplies.
“Up to now, China has donated more than 60-million masks, hundreds of thousands of testing kits, ventilators and other supplies to SA,” he said.
He said China was already at work with African countries to chart the cause for post-Covid-19 cooperation.
Che indicated that while China was committed to supporting cooperation among countries across the world, it remained disdained by the United States and President Donald Trump’s offensive against the Asian country over the virus.
He further said Trump was pushing for unilateralism, protectionism and bullying by accusing China of being responsible for the spread and damaging effect of the virus and by pulling out from the World Health Organisation which he also accused of protecting China from taking responsibility.
“Such acts have seriously undermined free trade and justice. This is not conducive to the common interest of the international community, including China and SA,” he said.
With China remaining SA’s biggest trading partner, he said he was keenly aware of his responsibilities as the new ambassador, as he took over from Lin Songtian this year.
“I will do my utmost to fulfil my duties. I will work with friends from all sectors in SA. We will work with SA to increase our friendship and mutual trust, expand cooperation in such areas as the pandemic response, trade and economy,” he said.
Various political parties and government departments, including the ANC and the SACP, have expressed well wishes to China during its anniversary celebrations.