Political and economic relations between South Africa and China

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Since the establishment of formal diplomatic ties in 1998, relations between South Africa, a leading economy on the African continent, and China, the largest developing country in the world, have grown steadily. Sharing a similar global vision, the two emerging countries are working towards closer strategic co-operation that takes account of the structure of bilateral economic ties, domestic diversity and overlapping interests.

At the same time, there are differences between the two countries that continue to shape ties and distinguish them from China’s relations with other African countries. South Africa is a diversified economy with relatively strong institutional structures and is home to a vibrant civil society; China is seen as a key competitor in sectors South Africa views as strategic, as well as being an investor in resources that enjoy a favourable trade balance.

SAIIA’s Professor Chris Alden, a co-author of a new report ‘South Africa and China: The Making of a Partnership‘ spoke to the SABC about the current nature of the relationship between the two countries, and what the future is likely to hold.

20 Oct 2014