The two countries have agreed to proactively promote their cooperation in the field of technology and innovation.

“The two nations have made a number of concrete achievements in joint advanced technology and industrial application projects, which have not only enriched our comprehensive strategic partnership but fostered a new growth engine for bilateral cooperation,” said Chinese President Xi Jinping during the opening ceremony of the South Africa-China Scientists High Level Dialogue in Pretoria on Tuesday.

Chinese President urged the building of new innovation platforms and more exchanges among young scientists, in order to embrace the global innovation network.

Xi’s remarks were echoed by his South African counterpart Cyril Ramaphosa, who pledged to strengthen technology and innovation cooperation in a bid to better cope with the challenges facing the fourth industrial revolution.

Chinese scientists have also joined the Square Kilometer Array (SKA), a large multi radio telescope project which is to be built in Australia and South Africa. When complete, it should be able to survey the sky more than 10,000 times faster than before.

Xi and Ramaphosa then witnessed the first car rolling off the production line at the new BAIC SA factory in the Nelson Mandela Bay Municipality. The plant is the result of a joint venture between Beijing-based BAIC Group and the Industrial Development Corporation of South Africa, with production set to hit 50,000 per year by 2019.

During the joint press conference, Xi stated that China would like to take proactive measures to boost imports from South Africa, following an array of agreements signed in the fields of trade, investment, finance and visa simplification, according to China Daily.

After his stay in Pretoria, Xi will attend the annual BRICS summit in Johannesburg between Wednesday and Friday.