CAPE TOWN, March 17 (Xinhua) -- South African President Jacob Zuma on Sunday congratulated Xi Jinping on his election as new Chinese president, the Presidency said in a statement.
"On behalf of the government and the people of South Africa, His Excellency President Jacob Zuma has congratulated His Excellency Xi Jinping on his election to the position of President of the People's Republic of China," the statement said.
It said South Africa looks forward to consolidating its strong relations with the People's Republic of China under the leadership of President Xi Jinping.
China is South Africa's biggest trading partner and a significant investor in the South African economy. The two countries are also members of the economic bloc BRICS, which is to host its fifth summit in Durban of South Africa on March 26 and March 27.
The Presidency said both China and South Africa have agreed to work towards a more equitable trade balance so that both nations benefit from the trade.
The visit by China's new president to South Africa, scheduled to coincide with the BRICS Summit, will be among the first he will be undertaking to Africa since President Xi assumes office, the Presidency said. "South Africa views this visit as further manifestation of the ever closer relations between Africa and China," the statement said.