Xi’s Latin Amer­ica trip to usher in new era

The visit shows that China and Latin Amer­ica are striv­ing for win-win co­op­er­a­tion and com­mon devel­op­ment un­der the prin­ci­ples of mu­tual trust, mu­tual ben­e­fit ...

China Daily (USA) - - VIEWS -

Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s up­com­ing visit to Latin Amer­ica is ex­pected to im­prove the all-round co­op­er­a­tive part­ner­ship and usher in a new era of bi­lat­eral re­la­tions. Xi will pay state vis­its to Ecuador, Peru and Chile from Nov 17 to Nov 23, and at­tend the 24th Asia-Pa­cific Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion (APEC) Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ Meet­ing from Nov 19 to 20 in Lima, Peru.

This will be Xi’s third visit to Latin Amer­ica since he took the pres­i­dency in­March 2013, and the visit to Ecuador will be the first since diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries be­gan in 1980.

The visit shows that China and Latin Amer­ica are striv­ing for win-win co­op­er­a­tion and com­mon devel­op­ment un­der the prin­ci­ples of mu­tual trust, mu­tual ben­e­fit and mu­tual learn­ing.

Dur­ing Xi’s visit, China will dis­cuss free trade ar­range­ments and co­op­er­a­tion in e-com­merce, pro­duc­tion ca­pac­ity, in­dus­trial parks and in­fra­struc­ture.

At present, af­fected by a weaker global mar­ket and the fall­ing prices of com­modi­ties, Latin Amer­ica needs cap­i­tal and tech­nol­ogy to im­prove its man­u­fac­tur­ing ca­pa­bil­i­ties, re­duce its de­pen­dence on the ex­port of raw­ma­te­ri­als and boost eco­nomic trans­for­ma­tion.

As China has cost-ef­fec­tive equip­ment, and Latin Amer­ica needs in­fra­struc­ture and in­dus­trial up­grad­ing, Xi’s visit comes at a time when there are am­ple op­por­tu­ni­ties to ex­pand the cur­rent re­la­tion­ship.

In fact, China-Latin Amer­ica ties have been im­prov­ing. Back in July 2014, Xi and lead­ers from the Com­mu­nity of Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean States (CELAC) an­nounced the es­tab­lish­ment of the China-CELAC Fo­rum. In Jan­uary 2015, China and the CELAC inked a five-year co­op­er­a­tion plan at the first min­is­te­rial meet­ing of the co­op­er­a­tion fo­rum in Bei­jing.

The co­op­er­a­tion fo­rum marked a new­era of mu­tual ben­e­fit and com­mon devel­op­ment and im­proved bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields.

In the po­lit­i­cal sphere, ties have been pro­pelled for­ward by the ex­changes of high-level vis­its. Peru, the first coun­try in the Latin Amer­ica to estab­lish a com­pre­hen­sive strate­gic part­ner­ship with China, will be Xi’s se­cond leg of the visit. Xi’s visit to Peru comes hot on the heels of Peru­vian Pres­i­dent Pe­dro Pablo Kuczyn­ski’s state visit to China in Septem­ber, which was his first state visit since he as­sumed the pres­i­dency.

Such fre­quent high-level vis­its are sure to con­sol­i­date tra­di­tional friend­ship and pave the way for fu­ture co­op­er­a­tion.

Chile, the last leg of Xi’s visit, has al­ways led re­la­tions with China. It was the first South Amer­i­can na­tion to forge diplo­matic ties with China, the first Latin Amer­i­can coun­try that signed a bi­lat­eral ac­cord with China on China’s mem­ber­ship to the­World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion and signed a free trade agree­ment with China.

In the eco­nomic and trade sec­tor, trade vol­ume be­tween China and Latin Amer­ica has risen more than twenty-fold dur­ing the past decade to hit $236.5 bil­lion in 2015. Cur­rently, China is the se­cond largest trade part­ner and third largest in­vest­ment source coun­try of Latin Amer­ica, while Latin Amer­ica is China’s sev­enth largest trade part­ner.

As an emerg­ing econ­omy and the largest de­vel­op­ing coun­try in the world, China has al­ways stood with de­vel­op­ing coun­tries and ful­filled its due re­spon­si­bil­i­ties com­men­su­rate with its sta­tus as a global eco­nomic power.

China pro­vided cash sup­port of $2 mil­lion and hu­man­i­tar­ian aid worth $9.2 mil­lion to Ecuador af­ter a fa­tal earth­quake killed 668 peo­ple, in­jured 4,859 and dis­placed around 80,000 in April.

Fur­ther­more, China pro­vided fi­nan­cial and tech­ni­cal sup­port to help Latin Amer­i­can coun­tries bridge the in­fra­struc­ture deficit.

Thanks to China’s fi­nan­cial sup­port, the Coca Codo Sin­clair hy­dro­elec­tric plant, the largest hy­dro­elec­tric plant ever con­structed by a Chi­nese com­pany, in north­east Ecuador, is ex­pected to gen­er­ate 1,500 megawatts of en­ergy and meet 30 per­cent of Ecuador’s de­mand.

The plant, along with oth­ers built by Chi­nese com­pa­nies, will help Ecuador trans­form from a power-hun­gry coun­try into a clean en­ergy ex­porter and greatly con­trib­ute to the coun­try’s eco­nomic devel­op­ment.

Within the frame­work of the China-CELAC Fo­rum, co­op­er­a­tion has also flour­ished in other ar­eas like ed­u­ca­tion, peo­ple-topeo­ple ex­changes and cul­ture.

China promised Latin Amer­i­can and Caribbean coun­tries 6,000 gov­ern­ment schol­ar­ships within five years from 2014.

In ad­di­tion, var­i­ous cul­tural ac­tiv­i­ties have been run in China and Latin Amer­ica to boost mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and con­sol­i­date the ba­sis for a lasting friend­ship. More­over, 2016 is the “Year of Cul­tural Ex­changes” be­tween China and the re­gion.

It is be­lieved that Xi’s visit will con­sol­i­date the tra­di­tional friend­ship, pro­mote com­mon devel­op­ment and build a com­mu­nity of shared des­tiny be­tween China and Latin Amer­ica.

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