Located on the very southern tip of the African continent, South Africa is bordered in the north by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Swaziland; in the east by the Indian and Atlantic Oceans. The nation of Lesotho is an independent enclave surrounded by South African territory.
South Africa covers an area of approximately 1.22 million square km. It is the only country in the world with three capitals. The administrative capital is Pretoria. The legislative capital is Cape Town while the judicial center is Bloemfontein.
The nation has a population of nearly 50 million people. English and Afrikaans are the official languages.
South Africa withdrew from the Commonwealth when it became an independent republic on May 31, 1961. The country's first non-racial elections were held in April 1994, with Nelson Mandela becoming the first black president.
South Africa, the biggest economy in Africa, enjoys abundant natural resources, including gold, chromium, antimony, coal, iron ore, manganese, nickel, phosphates, tin, uranium, gem diamonds, platinum, copper, vanadium, salt and natural gas.
Since China and South Africa established diplomatic ties on Jan. 1, 1998, their bilateral relations have witnessed an all-round and rapid development. In August 2010, The two countries' presidents agreed to upgrade their relations to "comprehensive strategic partnership."
South Africa is now China's largest trading partner in Africa, while China is South Africa's biggest trading partner. In 2010, their trade volume was 25.65 billion U.S. dollars, an increase of 59.5 percent from 2009.