China’s President Xi Jinping arrived in South Africa close to midnight on Monday for his fourth state visit to the country, which coincides with the 15th BRICS Summit.
He was received by host President Cyril Ramaphosa at OR Tambo International Airport.
Xi was welcomed with a cultural song and dance performance as well as a military parade by the South African National Defense Forces (SANDF).
On Tuesday, Ramaphosa will host the Chinese leader on an official state visit in the capital Pretoria ahead of the Aug. 22-24 BRICS summit to be held in Johannesburg.
BRICS is a bloc of emerging economies that includes Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. It currently makes up a quarter of the global economy, accounting for a fifth of global trade, and is home to more than 40% of the world’s population.
Writing in his weekly column on Monday, Ramaphosa said this year marks 25 years of diplomatic ties between South Africa and the People’s Republic of China.
“Our bilateral relationship with our largest trading partner is almost as old as our democracy,” he said.
“South Africa has a great deal to learn from China’s development path. Among other achievements, China has lifted nearly 800 million people out of poverty over a 40-year period.”
Ramaphosa said as partners in development, China and South Africa have long shared a common understanding that trade and investment are the foremost catalysts for improving the living standards their respective peoples.
Xi will also attend the BRICS summit, where Ramaphosa will host several other leaders, including Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
More than 30 heads of state and government from across Africa will be attending the summit.
Russian President Vladimir Putin, who is facing an international arrest warrant over alleged war crimes in Ukraine, is not attending the meeting. Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will represent him.
Xi will also co-chair the China-Africa Leaders’ Dialogue with Ramaphosa.