Maritime Economy a priority for Vietnam

by K Bhana

3 September 2020

Vietnam has 3,260 km of coastline and thousands of large and small islands, including two archipelagos of Hoang Sa (Paracels) and Truong Sa (Spatlys). It borders the People’s Republic of China in the north as well as Cambodia and Laos to the west. Its coastline on the east is lapped by the waves of the South China Sea which has always been an integral, natural feature of Vietnam’s livelihood, geography and history.  

Photo: Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held a video call with officers and soldiers in the Spratly Islands (Truong Sa) on January 30, 2020 to congratulate and encourge them on the occasion of Vietnam’s Lunar New Year Festival – an event of sacredness and family reunion according to its traditional culture.

Vietnams’ increasing role and position in international affairs is being acknowledged on the world stage. The accolades can be credited to the vision of the leadership of the governing Communist Party of Vietnam. Having endured the hardships of colonial and imperial occupation the Vietnamese have emerged stronger, wiser and ready to play its part.

The spirit and will of the nation is legendary and has been widely documented and recorded for historical significance. The hard fought victories they achieved against oppression and interference of their sovereignty is a strong indicator of courage and tenacity to overcome challenges they face.

Vietnam has made significant developments since the implementation of Doi Moi (Policy of Renovation) in 1986. It has diplomatic relations with more than 185 countries and has key comprehensive and strategic partnerships with several countries and participates on many international fora on multilateral and economic cooperation.

Malaysia-South Africa for peace, stability and prosperity

Remarks by H.E. Mohamad Nizan Mohamad,  High Commissioner of Malaysia to the Republic of South Africa, Republic of Botswana, Kingdom of Eswatini, Kingdom of Lesotho, Mozambique and Madagascar on the 63rd Anniversary of the National Day of Malaysia

31 August 2020

Your Excellencies, distinguished colleagues in the South African Government and esteemed member of the Diplomatic Corps in South Africa, Salam and greetings to all.

This year has been challenging for people around the world. The COVID-19 pandemic continues to have a serious impact on health systems, economies and our lives. It has been five months since the first COVID-19 case was detected in South Africa, and wearing face mask, face shield and social distancing have been the new norms in our daily life. As much as we struggle and try to adapt to this ‘new normal’, the pandemic is likely to remain with us for years to come. Therefore, it is crucial that all of us to remain steadfast and positive while continuing to provide whatever supports to each other’s in this challenging time.

Although we could not get together in person this year, we still celebrated this special day together through our virtual National Day celebrations on our social media platforms.

Japan's Prime Minister Abe resigns

30 August 2020

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on Friday, 28 August, said he will resign due to a flare-up of his chronic intestinal disease. This will end his nearly eight-year stint as Japan's longest-serving leader.

"As I am no longer in a condition to respond confidently to the mandate of the people, I have decided I should not stay in the prime minister's post," the 65-year-old said at a nationally televised press conference.

Mr Norio Maruyama, Ambassador of Japan to South Africa responded to President Abe’s announcement saying, “Although it is due to his health, it is with a sentiment of regret that I learned of the announcement. During his tenure for seven years and eight months, Prime Minister Abe has made significant achievements.

“With his own strong commitment for establishing closer relations with Africa, Prime Minister Abe made significant efforts to strengthen these relations by promoting Public-Private Partnerships.

A Tanabata gift from Miyagi Prefecture

30 August 2020

The Tokyo Olympics, which was scheduled to be held from 24 July-9 August 2020, was postponed due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The closing of borders, lockdowns, limited number of people gatherings, have caused the postponement and even cancellation of thousands of events around the world.

Photo: Mr Kawaguchi, Minister-Counsellor at the Embassy of Japan with Mrs Swanepoel, the Principal of Crawford school

The International Olympic Committee and Tokyo 2020 Organising Committee announced that the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be rescheduled to take place from 23 July to 8 August 2021. They also agreed on new dates for the Paralympic Games, which will be held from 24 August until 5 September 2021.

The Secretariat of the Headquarters for the Promotion of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games, has established an “Arigato” Host Town in the three disaster-stricken prefectures (Iwate, Miyagi, and Fukushima). The initiative encourages exchanges with "those who gave support at the time of disaster", with people who contributed in the reconstruction, including the rescue team members of different countries who entered the disaster-stricken area for support, and those who have sent relief supplies.

Ramlakan was a distinguished Freedom Fighter

28 August 2020

Retired South African National Defence Force Surgeon-General, Lieutenant-General Vejay Ramlakan passed away on Thursday, 27 August 2020 at the age of 62.

Lieutenant-General Vejaynand Indurjith Ramlakan was a South African military commander. He was also a medical doctor who served in Umkhonto weSizwe (MK), the military wing of the African National Congress, during the liberation struggle against the South African government in the 1980s, and transferred to the South African National Defence Force when MK was incorporated into it in 1994.

He first joined Umkhonto we Sizwe (MK) as an underground operative in Natal in 1977. During this period, he underwent general military training in South Africa and in Swaziland. At the University of Natal, General Ramlakan served as the President of the Medical Students Representative Council from 1979 to 1980.

Cuban tribute to Ambassador John Nkadimeng: His huge legacy on South Africa-Cuba relations will never been forgotten

By Rodolfo Benítez Verson, Ambassador of Cuba to South Africa, Eswatini and Lesotho

30 August 2020

Cuba and South Africa formally established diplomatic relations on May 11, 1994, just one day after Nelson Mandela´s inauguration as President.

In fact, Cuba was the first country that a liberated South Africa recognized diplomatically and the first in which South Africa established a new embassy after the end of Apartheid.

Commander-In-Chief Fidel Castro, guest of honor at the inauguration ceremony, suggested Mandela to appoint as an Ambassador to Cuba someone he could fully trust.  It was not an ordinary ambassadorship posting; many plans for the future had already been discreetly discussed by the two leaders.

In August 1995, Mandela selected John Nkadimeng for this important position. It was not a surprise for us in Cuba. Cde. Nkadimeng started working with Mandela at the age of 25 in 1950 and they became very close. Mandela knew that Cde. Nkadimeng was up to the task.

The Cuban government could not be happier with the choice. Cde. Nkadimeng was already known by us in Cuba. We knew he was a very well-prepared cadre that combined great experience of leadership from the ANC, the SACP and the trade unions.

98th Anniversary of Turkey's Great Victory

by Elif Çomoğlu Ülgen, Ambassador of the Republic of Turkey in South Africa

30 August 2020

On 30 August this year, the Republic of Turkey proudly celebrates the 98th Anniversary of the “Great Victory” of the Turkish Nation.

Led by Mustafa Kemal, the epic War of Independence started in 1919 in Samsun, to culminate in victory on 30 August 1922, with the Field Battle of Commander-in-Chief. This victory was the attestation of our nation’s unyielding will to live independently on its homeland and paved the way for the proclamation of the Turkish Republic.

On this Victory Day, I would like to pay my deepest respects and gratitude to Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the Republic of Turkey and to all fallen heroes in arms who sacrificed their lives for the independence of our homeland.
 

Kazakhstan Embassy’s Engagement with the African Commission on Nuclear Energy

Central Asia and Africa will benefit from Inter-Regional Dialogue on Nuclear Energy Governance

29 August 2020

Photo: Dr. Messaoud Baaliouamer, Executive Secretary of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE) and Mr Kanat Tumysh, Ambassador of Kazakhstan to South Africa

In a special interview with Dr. Messaoud Baaliouamer, Executive Secretary of the African Commission on Nuclear Energy (AFCONE), dedicated to the 29 August – the International Day against Nuclear Tests, the high-ranked African diplomat commended H.E. Mr. Nursultan Nazarbayev, First President of Kazakhstan and Leader of the Nation, for the initiative seeking to establish dialogue among nuclear-weapon-free zones (NWFZs), and praised the role and contribution of Kazakhstan in the promotion of nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation of WMD, and to a world free of nuclear weapons.

During the conversation Dr. Baaliouamer informed the Embassy of Kazakhstan in South Africa about the scheduled joint activities to be organized by AFCONE Secretariat, Government of Kazakhstan, International Science and Technological Center (ISTC) and other stakeholders in this sphere from September – November 2020.
 
The first event – an online webinar on "Virtual Meeting on Uranium Resources in Africa: Exploration, Exploitation and Cooperation Opportunities" with the participation of representatives of ISTC, AFCONE and the African Union, which is expected to be held on September 8, 2020.

Why the ANC should back ‘all-inclusive dialogue’ on Zimbabwe’s future

There may be, at last, the prospect of change in Zimbabwe, at least if the apparent attitude change of South Africa is any gauge.

Greg Mills, Director, The Brenthurst Foundation
Ray Hartley, Research Director, The Brenthurst Foundation

26 August 2020

The history of successful conflict mediation across Africa demonstrates the importance of three ingredients.

First, of an acceptance by the warring parties that there is more to be gained from ending conflict than continuing it.

Second, of the need for unified external pressure pushing the parties to the negotiation process.

And third, of the importance of leadership, timing and method.

Zimbabwe under Robert Mugabe and, now, Emmerson Mnangagwa has shown a boundless capacity for making things worse for a long time. Now, after years of proving that the notion of “things not being able to get any worse” is untrue, there may be, at last, the prospect of change in Zimbabwe, at least if the apparent attitude change of South Africa is any gauge.

The head of the ANC’s NEC Sub-Committee on International Relations, Lindiwe Zulu, has said that it’s time for a “broad-based and all-inclusive dialogue” to chart the way forward for Zimbabwe.

Geo-Strategic Interface between South Africa - India - Sri Lanka

By Srimal Fernando and Vedangshi Roy Choudhuri

19 August 2020

The importance of South Africa in the political, economical, social and geographical context has been on the rise. Arguably, leadership has been the key element in leading the growth and increasing influence of South Africa. The other African countries have been leveraging the dominant role of South Africa to their favour in aspects of social and economic advancements. South Africa’s transformation lies in the steady growth in their political and economic developments fuelled by their international relations, beyond the borders of the African continent. Improving relationships have been led by South Africa’s growing influence with the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), South African Development Cooperation (SADC) and Brazil Russia India China and South Africa ( BRICS) member states.

 SAARC and SADC

Broad similarities are made with India and its growing influence in South Asia. India’s significant leadership role in the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC), which is a group of eight nations, has been through trade and commerce and setting up international relations for the prosperity of the SAARC region counties. Both South Africa and India have their strategic geographical advantage as regards their location. South Africa, being in the Southern tip of Africa overlooks on trade routes around the Cape towards the busy Far East and at a vantage position of being en route to the rich oil trade. The significant trade route has the vested interest of American and European countries, some in legacy and most of it with the exploration of mineral wealth and burgeoning industrial, commercial and financial growth. Similar to SAARC in South Asia, South Africa’s leading role in SADC, a group of 15 African nations, has provided the strength and impetus of the importance in the region. However, a stark contrast of SADC, SAARC’s intraregional trade is in dismal 5% and has to do more to tap its immense potential.

French Covid-19 Donation Arrives in South Africa

On Tuesday, 18 August 2020, a Covid-19 donation of medical material and personal protection equipment from the French government arrived in South Africa.

The donation consists of reanimation pumps, material for intensive care units and medical isolation gowns, worth a total of R 1,8 million.

South Africa is the hardest hit country in Africa and the 5th in the world. This donation from the French Government will help the South African authorities and health workers, whose handling of the crisis was recently commended by the international community and the World Health Organization, to continue saving lives.

France is proud to support South Africa in its fight against this pandemic. This forms part of a coordinated  #TeamEurope response by European Union countries to provide comprehensive support to South Africa in this crisis.

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