Chinese president's upcoming Chile visit to inject new vitality into bilateral cooperation: ambassador

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/11/22 15:18:02

Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming state visit to Chile will open a new chapter of bilateral ties, Chinese Ambassador to Chile Li Baorong said in an exclusive interview with Xinhua on the eve of the visit.

This milestone visit will inject new vitality into bilateral cooperation and have a significant impact on the long-term development of bilateral relations.

Li said that, in recent years, China and Chile have maintained frequent high-level exchanges and deepened political mutual trust. The important consensuses reached during those visits have played an irreplaceable role in the development of ties.

Chile established diplomatic ties with China in 1970, the first country in South America to do so. The Chinese and Chilean people have maintained a profound traditional friendship ever since, Li said.

China and Chile are strategic partners, with solid political mutual trust, complementary economies, fruitful educational, cultural and technological exchanges, and huge potential for future mutual beneficial cooperation, Li added.

Both sides have also showed mutual understanding and support on major issues concerning each other's core interests. The strategic significance and overall influence of China-Chile ties have been continuously enhanced, said Li.

He said that China and Chile have long enjoyed friendly exchanges between government departments, legislatures and political parties. The Chilean parliament was the first Latin American parliament to establish a political dialogue mechanism with China's National People's Congress, and a political consultation mechanism has been established between the two foreign ministries.

These friendly exchanges, dialogues and consultations have further deepened mutual understanding and friendship and effectively promoted bilateral friendly cooperation, Li said.

In the fields of economy, trade and financial cooperation, Li said that Chile was the first Latin American country to sign a free trade agreement(FTA) with China in 2005. Bilateral trade volume has grown fourfold since the FTA went into effect in 2006. China is now Chile's largest trading partner, its largest export destination and the largest buyer of copper products.

China's first RMB clearing bank in Latin America was opened in Chile in June this year, setting up a financial platform to upgrade financial cooperation between China, Chile and the rest of Latin America.

Li also said that in recent years, trade between the two countries has been well diversified.

Currently, Chile is China's second largest source of wine imports, with bottled wine exports to China having increased by 46 percent in 2015. The two countries have signed a number of quarantine agreements on cherries, blueberries and avocados.

China has become an important market for Chilean cherries, blueberries, apples, grapes and a variety of seafoods such as salmon. Chinese products with good quality and competitive prices are also popular among Chilean consumers. For example, Chinese-made cars have taken up a considerable share of the Chilean auto market.

Li said China-Chile mutual investment, whose total amount is still limited, has been continuously growing, and expanding to industries like infrastructure construction, renewable energy, mining, agriculture, telecommunications and others.

The two governments have done a lot to promote mutual investment. In 2015, the two countries held the first economic cooperation and strategic dialogue, and signed a series of agreements to strengthen investment and boost industrial cooperation.

Cultural exchanges in recent years have enhanced the mutual understanding and friendship between the two peoples. 2015 was the "Year of Chinese Culture" in Chile, while this year has been designated the "China-Latin America and Caribbean Cultural Exchange Year."

Finally, some 50 Chinese teachers from the Confucius Institute's Latin American regional center in Santiago, two Confucius Institutes and over 20 Chinese teaching centers have been working hard to popularize the Chinese language and culture in Chile.

Li concluded by stressing that Chinese President Xi's visit to Chile will definitely be historic.

Posted in: DIPLOMACY,CHILE

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