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Yang Jiechi, China's Minister of Foreign Affairs, at a South African press conference.

TEXT OF STORY

Scott Jagow: Trade between China and Africa is eight times what it was just a decade ago. That's probably why Chinese officials visit Africa so often. China's foreign minister is making the rounds this week. First stop? The economic powerhouse, South Africa. Gretchen Wilson reports from Johannesburg.


Gretchen Wilson: China is now South Africa's biggest trading partner. Bilateral trade is up 35 percent last year alone. And China's leading bank just bought a $6 billion stake in Standard Bank Group, South Africa's biggest lender.

No specific trade deals were penned at this meeting. But economic cooperation is at the heart of everything. Take peacekeeping in Darfur and elsewhere in Africa -- a big agenda item for this visit.

Martyn Davies is director of the Centre for Chinese Studies at Stellenbosch University:

Martyn Davies: I think both China and South Africa have certainly aligned interests, strategic interests, in resolving conflict on this continent -- particularly where both countries have a significant business or corporate presence in key markets.

Yang Jiechi is now in the Democratic Republic of Congo to finalize an $8 billion deal to develop that country's mining industry.

In Johannesburg, I'm Gretchen Wilson for Marketplace.

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