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Wednesday, June 19, 2024

China insists it will not compromise on Taiwan, and thanks South Africa for upholding one-China policy

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Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of China in South Africa, Li Zhigang has reiterated that the Taiwan question bears on China’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and is a non-negotiable principle embedded at the heart of China’s core interests.

The topic of Taiwan has been thrust into international news headlines ahead of next week’s inauguration of Taiwanese president-elect Lai Ching-te. All African nations, except for Eswatini, ascribe to the one-China policy.

The South African government and the ruling African National Congress (ANC) endorse the one-China policy, which recognises Taiwan as an inalienable part of the People’s Republic of China run from Beijing.

A symposium was held in Pretoria by the Chinese embassy in South Africa, which was attended by ANC representatives, government officials, members of the academia, activists and media representatives.

On behalf of the Chinese government, Li said China will not compromise on the question of Taiwan.

Chargé d’affaires of the Embassy of China in South Africa, Li Zhigang addressing a symposium on South Africa-China relations. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo /

“There is no room for compromise or concession. Seeking foreign support to gain independence is a dead-end. The scheme to use Taiwan to contain China is doomed to fail. Peaceful cross-Strait reunification under the one-China principle will bring huge opportunities for the economic and social development in the Taiwan region and tangible benefits to our compatriots there,” said Li.

He said the unification of China serves the interests of not only the Chinese nation and people, but also the international community and all people around the world.

Li said with a similar destiny in the past, South Africa “deeply understands and firmly supports Chinese people’s just cause of opposing the separatist activities of ‘Taiwan independence’ to achieve national reunification in China.

“The South African government has long adhered to the one-China principle which is reiterated many times in our joint communiqués on the establishment of diplomatic relations, and in our joint statements. The ruling party ANC stands firm against ‘Taiwan independence’ separatist activities.

President Cyril Ramaphosa last year welcomed President Xi Jinping of the People’s Republic of China on a State Visit to South Africa. File Picture: Siyabulela Duda / GCIS

“It (ANC) has written the one-China principle into its highest resolution and asked governments at all levels to strictly abide by it. South Africa has also reaffirmed the one-China principle multiple times on such occasions as the UN Human Rights Council sessions and the World Health Assembly, which China deeply appreciates,” said Li.

Veteran South African journalist, Abbey Makoe told the symposium that when South Africa’s founding father, former president Nelson Mandela established diplomatic relations with the People’s Republic of China in January 1998, the post-apartheid Pretoria declared its full recognition of the one-China principle and recognised Taiwan as an integral part of mainland China.

Veteran journalist Abbey Makoe, who is editor and founder of Global South Media Network. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo /

“Like South Africa, countries that appreciate the truthfulness of history and adhere to the one-China policy stand to benefit from China’s phenomenal foreign policy that is based on the principles of a shared future and a win-win cooperation in all fronts,” he said.

“The impact of China-South Africa relations manifests itself across all spheres of life. That South Africa became the first African country to join the BRICS bloc was partly due to the unwavering ties with Beijing.

“Some detractors of China particularly in the West may use Taiwan as a tool to undermine the impactful rise of China in internal affairs. However, the strategy is doomed to fail. Any attempt to separate Taiwan from China is a recognised red flag, and the vast majority of the member states of the United Nations, such as South Africa, are cognisant of this factor, and adhere to the one-China policy without being coerced,” said Makoe.

On behalf of the African National Congress, national executive committee member Dakota Legoete said the recent moves by the US, which will be sending a delegation to the Taiwanese inauguration, is a continuation of the provocation of the sovereignty of China, aimed at undermining China’s territorial sovereignty.

African National Congress national executive committee member Dakota Legoete. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo /

“Right at the turn of democracy, the governing ANC government made a noble and historically accurate decision to abandon the policy of the apartheid regime and promulgate one-China policy in our relationship with the People’s Republic of China. We continue to believe this was the correct stance, because this adheres to the very struggle of the people of China for national sovereignty and for the Communist Party of China to continue to govern according to the will of the people, a united China,” said Legoete.

Renowned South African academic, author and practising Sinologist, Prof Paul Tembe said the constant evolution of the South Africa-China relationship, which was upgraded from 2004 into a ‘strategic partnership’, and heightened in 2010 to a comprehensive strategic partnership means China can count on South Africa as “a friend-in-all-weathers or a comrade-and-brother”.

Renowned South African academic, author and practising Sinologist, Prof Paul Tembe. Picture: Jonisayi Maromo /

China has been South Africa’s largest trading partner for 15 years in a row, and South Africa participated in the China International Import Expo for six years.

The Chinese embassy said South African beef, citrus, wine, oysters, rooibos tea and many other products are now “very popular” among Chinese consumers.

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