Ramaphosa sides with China in US-China trade war – report

President Cyril Ramaphosa raises his hand to the oath during his inauguration ceremony at Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, 25 May 2019. Picture: EPA-EFE / YESHIEL PANCHIA / POOL

President Cyril Ramaphosa raises his hand to the oath during his inauguration ceremony at Loftus Versveld Stadium in Pretoria, South Africa, 25 May 2019. Picture: EPA-EFE / YESHIEL PANCHIA / POOL

The presidency says the advancements South Africa made in the telecommunications sector are largely because of the investment Huawei made in the country.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has reportedly backed China on Huawei as the country is locked in a trade war with the US.

The Sunday Times reported that Ramaphosa pledged South Africa’s support for the Chinese mobile company to the country’s President Xi Jinping at the G20 summit held in Japan.

The spokesperson of the presidency Khusela Diko reportedly said Ramaphosa told his Chinese counterpart that the mobile giant, Huawei, was important to South Africa’s telecommunications.

Diko was quoted as saying that Huawei provides a strong backbone for South Africa’s telecommunication sector and is in the forefront in the 5G network.

“The advancements made in that sector are largely because of the investment Huawei made in SA. The president expressed his concern at any efforts to curtail the efforts of Huawei to deliver a comprehensive, and what we believe to be an advanced solution in the telecommunication space,” Diko was quoted saying.

Diko reportedly said the South African president and his Chinese counterpart were in agreement in condemning protectionism and unilateralism and had a mutual understanding on resisting bullying, which was seen as criticism towards US President Donald Trump.

Apart from raising tariffs on Chinese imports, the Trump administration has also effectively blocked Huawei and other firms from using US technology.

Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Naledi Pandor said South Africa and emerging economies were caught in between the trade war.

“There’s concern … that the smaller economies may be affected negatively if matters are not resolved speedily and in line with broad international agreements,” Pandor was quoted as saying.

It was reported that the minister said South Africa had used the G20 summit to express its view, which is encouraged by China, that the world had done better with multilateralism.

It was further reported that Russian President Vladimir Putin said his country was ready to assist South Africa with its nuclear programme.

Diko reportedly said South Africa’s president affirmed that the country would roll out nuclear at a pace and scale affordable to South Africa.

(Compiled by Makhosandile Zulu)

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