China, Chile lift ties to comprehensive strategic partnership

Source:Xinhua Published: 2016/11/23 17:25:38

China and Chile agreed on Tuesday to lift bilateral ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership as Chinese President Xi Jinping paid his first state visit to the Latin American country.

In his talks with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Xi compared China and Chile to true friends who could touch each other's heart from the other end of the world, and commended Chile for taking the lead amongst Latin American countries in developing ties with China.

Chile was the first country to establish diplomatic ties with China in South America, as well as the first Latin American country to sign a bilateral accord with China on the latter's accession to the World Trade Organization, and to recognize China's status as a market economy.

It was also the first Latin American country that signed a free trade agreement (FTA) with China.

Two-way trade amounted to 31.8 billion US dollars last year, nearly five times as much as in 2005 when the FTA was signed.
China's first RMB clearing bank in Latin America was opened in Chile in June this year, setting up a platform to upgrade financial cooperation between China, Chile and the rest of Latin America.

Citing a high level of mutual political trust between the two countries, their mutually beneficial and win-win economies, and increasingly closer multilateral cooperation, the Chinese president said China-Chile ties have entered a new era of maturity and stability.

He said both countries are in a key phase of development, and are dedicated to seeking further development through deepening reforms.

From this new starting point of bilateral ties, Xi said, they should actively strive forward to ensure that China-Chile relations could continue to spearhead China's ties with Latin American countries.

China is willing to work with Chile to improve the top-level design for bilateral ties, improve their FTA, broaden investment cooperation, strengthen sci-tech and innovation cooperation, lay a solid foundation of public support, and lift their strategic coordination, he said, adding that the Chinese side supports its enterprises in seeking a spot in Chile's infrastructure and clean energy industries.

He also noted that tourism cooperation between China and Chile is conducive to people-to-people and cultural exchanges between the two countries, and urged the two sides to enhance communication and coordination within multilateral institutions.

For her part, Bachelet welcomed Xi's visit to Chile, saying the country will further cement friendly ties with China, and expand political dialogues as well as trade and economic links.

Chile, she said, is willing to take the elevation of bilateral ties as an opportunity to deepen cooperation with China in various areas, while breaking new grounds for cooperation.

An upgrade of the FTA between Chile and China will give trade and economic cooperation between the two countries a strong boost, she said, adding that Chile welcomes Chinese enterprises to increase their investment in the Latin American country.

The Chilean president stated that her country is willing to join the China-initiated Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank as soon as possible, and to conduct closer coordination and cooperation with China on international affairs.

A joint statement issued after the talks between the two presidents affirmed the elevation of China-Chile ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

The two countries also agreed to start talks on an upgrade of their FTA as soon as possible, it added.

According to the joint statement, the two heads of state spoke highly of the accomplishments achieved over the past 10 years since the FTA of the two sides went into effect, adding that they will instruct relevant departments of the two countries to commence the upgrade talks as soon as possible, so as to further deepen and strengthen bilateral economic and trade ties.

Currently, Chile is China's second largest source of wine imports, with bottled wine exports to China up 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 seafood such as salmon. Chinese products with good quality and competitive prices are also popular among Chilean consumers. Chinese-made cars have taken up a considerable share of the Chilean auto market.

Meanwhile, the joint statement said the two countries also agreed to intensify high-level contacts, as well as exchanges between their governments, legislative organs and political parties and at local levels.

They will firmly support each other over the choices of their respective development path and major issues concerning their interests, it said. In particular, the Chilean side reiterated its one-China policy, and pledged support for peaceful development of cross-Taiwan-Strait ties and for China's reunification.

The statement acknowledged the guiding role of a joint action plan signed by the Chinese and Chilean governments in 2015 on bilateral exchanges and cooperation.

The two sides agreed to strengthen the docking of their development strategies, expand cooperation in such fields as mining, agriculture, manufacturing, information communication, infrastructure, clean energy, and small and medium-sized enterprises, so as to boost industrial integration, increase their economic competitiveness, realize complementarity of their advantages, and achieve reciprocal and win-win results, it said.

China and Chile will, the statement said, deepen financial cooperation and take full advantage of their currency swap agreements, the RMB Qualified Foreign Institutional Investors (QFII) quota, and the RMB clearing arrangement in Chile, so as to drive bilateral trade and investment.

Both sides agreed to take events like the China-Latin America cultural exchange year and the Chile week as opportunities to expand cooperation in such areas as culture, education, antarctic survey, astronomy, earthquake response and disaster mitigation, facilitate an early establishment of the center for Chinese culture in Chile, and expand personnel exchanges and tourism cooperation.

The two nations also agreed to maintain close coordination in global economic governance, climate change, ocean conservancy and the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, deepen the China-Latin America comprehensive cooperative partnership, and strengthen dialogues and cooperation between China and the Pacific Alliance.

Meanwhile, they agreed to jointly push forward the construction of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, enhance regional connectivity, build up open economies, so as to make greater contributions to world stability and prosperity, according to the joint statement.

After their talks, the two presidents witnessed the signing of a number of cooperation agreements on trade and economy, agriculture, quality control, culture, education, e-commerce, information communication and finance.

Xi also laid a wreath at the Bernardo O'Higgins monument in Santiago on Tuesday afternoon.

Chile is the last stop of Xi's three-nation Latin America tour which has already taken the Chinese president to Ecuador and Peru. He also attended the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting in Lima, the capital of Peru.


blog comments powered by Disqus