Chile, China ties to prosper under Bachelet: academic

Source:Xinhua Published: 2014-1-16 14:56:22

Chile's ties with China will remain prosperous under the government of Michelle Bachelet, the president-elect who will begin her four-year term in March, an academic said on Tuesday.

"The government of Bachelet will be very close to China because in her previous term (2006-2010) she strengthened ties with the Chinese government and she visited the country more than once," said Marcos Jaramillo, director of the Asian Studies Center at the Catholic University of Chile.

During Bachelet's first presidential term, the China-Chile Free Trade Agreement (FTA) came into force. Jaramillo said, "we recognize as very important Chile's ties with China. China is our main trading partner on the other side of the world and we cannot forget this."

The expert said the incoming president will be "pragmatic" on the issue of Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP), a wide-ranging trade agreement promoted by the United States, "she will try to look out for Chile's interests in continuing to export to China."

Noting China's observer status to the Pacific Alliance, comprising Chile, Peru, Colombia, and Mexico, Jaramillo said the alliance, with good international acceptance, was seen as an opportunity to approach the Pacific, "since today great trade is in the Pacific and not in the Atlantic."

As the director of the Asia Studies Center, Jaramillo said China is important in the cultural scope as well as commercial scope.

At the end of the 20th century, the Catholic University of Chile opened the Asian Studies Center as part of the Department of History, Geography and Political Science, and currently, more than 300 students attend courses on Asian topics, according to Jaramillo.

"We have much activity inside and outside of the university, including Asian culture, Chinese law and other subjects, as well as regular conferences and seminars."

The center is working on strengthening the Chile-China ties through exchanges with Chinese universities, said Jaramillo, and the university signed a cooperation agreement with China's Tsinghua University last year.

Now the expert is looking forward to visiting China in July.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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