En­voy to Chile talks re­la­tions

China Daily (USA) - - XI’S VISIT - By MAY ZHOU in Lima, Peru

Li Baorong, China’s am­bas­sador to Chile, dis­cussed the state of re­la­tions be­tween the two na­tions in re­sponse to ques­tions from China Daily.

What do you think of the visit of Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping to Chile? How will the re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries be pro­moted?

I am very sure that Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping’s state visit to Chile will open a new chap­ter of China-Chile re­la­tions and be of great his­tor­i­cal sig­nif­i­cance. The two gov­ern­ments at­tach great im­por­tance to and have high hopes for this visit.

Dur­ing the visit, Xi and Bachelet will make in-depth ex­changes on bi­lat­eral re­la­tions, prag­matic co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields and other is­sues of com­mon con­cern.

The two sides will sign agree­ments in­volv­ing trade, fi­nance, com­mu­ni­ca­tions, ed­u­ca­tion, agri­cul­ture and other im­por­tant ar­eas. This will def­i­nitely open up more room for bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion.

Since you took of­fice, what are the ma­jor achieve­ment sin Chile-China re­la­tions?

Over the past 46 years since the es­tab­lish­ment of diplo­matic re­la­tions be­tween China and Chile, the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions have been de­vel­op­ing smoothly as a re­sult of the joint ef­forts of the two gov­ern­ments. In re­cent years, the bi­lat­eral re­la­tions have be­come closer and closer, and the bi­lat­eral co­op­er­a­tion in var­i­ous fields has shown a good mo­men­tum.

The fre­quent high-level ex­changes be­tween the two coun­tries have deep­ened po­lit­i­cal mu­tual trust.

In July 2014, Pres­i­dent Xi Jin­ping met with Pres­i­dent Michelle Bachelet in Brasilia dur­ing the China-Latin Amer­ica and the Caribbean Sum­mit.

In Novem­ber, Pres­i­dent Bachelet went to Bei­jing to at­tend the APEC Eco­nomic Lead­ers’ In­for­mal Meet­ing and made a state visit to China. In May 2015, Premier Li Ke­qiang was in­vited to pay an of­fi­cial visit to Chile. At present, the re­la­tions be­tween the two coun­tries are in the best pe­riod in his­tory in both strat­egy and com­pre­hen­sive­ness.

What is the main fo­cus of the eco­nomic ex­changes be­tween Chile and China?

Chile is the first Latin Amer­i­can coun­try to sign a free trade agree­ment with China, while China is Chile’s largest trad­ing part­ner, the largest ex­port des­ti­na­tion and the largest buyer of cop­per prod­ucts. Since the sign­ing of the China-Chile FTA, China-Chile trade has in­creased four­fold.

China- Chile trade has achieved sig­nif­i­cant di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion. At present, Chile has be­come China’s sec­ond-largest wine ex­porter, a ma­jor or largest mar­ket for Chilean cher­ries, blue­ber­ries, ap­ples, grapes, sal­mon and other seafood.

More and more Chi­nese au­to­mo­biles ap­pear on the streets in Chile and lead the mar­ket share here. Since May 2015, the two coun­tries have con­ducted a joint as­sess­ment of the trade ne­go­ti­a­tions up­grade. It’s very pos­i­tive for main­tain­ing steady growth of the bi­lat­eral trade.

China-Chile mu­tual in­vest­ment is grow­ing with in­vest­ment ex­tend­ing to in­fras­truc­ture con­struc­tion, re­new­able en­ergy, min­ing, agri­cul­ture, com­mu­ni­ca­tions and other in­dus­tries. The Chilean gov­ern­ment en­cour­ages Chi­nese en­ter­prises to in­vest in Chile, and for two con­sec­u­tive years held in China a “Chile Week” in­vest­ment con­fer­ence.

Fi­nan­cial co­op­er­a­tion has be­come a new bright spot of co­op­er­a­tion be­tween the two coun­tries. Both sides have started cur­rency swap, the first RMB clear­ing bank in Latin Amer­ica — Chile branch of China Con­struc­tion Bank — opened in June this year in the cap­i­tal San­ti­ago.

How about the cul­tural ex­changes be­tween Chile and China?

2015 was Chile’s “Year of Chi­nese Cul­ture”; this year is the “Sino-Latin Amer­i­can Cul­tural Ex­change Year”. The cul­tural in­sti­tu­tions of both coun­tries have held a series of high-level ex­change pro­grams.

The am­bas­sadors for the “China and Latin Amer­i­can Cul­ture Ex­change Year” in­clude pi­anist Lang Lang and mu­si­cian Tan Dun. Per­form­ing groups such as the China Ra­dio Na­tional Orchestra and Zhe­jiang Song and Dance The­ater have held nearly 70 per­for­mances across Chile.

These per­for­mances gave Chilean au­di­ences a taste of mul­ti­di­men­sional Chi­nese cul­ture both mod­ern and tra­di­tional. In ad­di­tion, the lo­cal Chilean Dragon and Lion Dance As­so­ci­a­tion pre­sented Chi­nese Myths and Le­gends on the na­tional stage for the first time and was well-re­ceived.

This fall, the works of the fa­mous Chilean artist Jose Ven­turelli were ex­hib­ited in Bei­jing, Nan­jing and Shang­hai for the sixth time since his first ex­hi­bi­tion in Bei­jing in 1957.

The Palace Mu­seum’s cul­tural relics ex­hi­bi­tion is still on­go­ing at the cul­tural cen­ter of the Chilean Pres­i­den­tial Palace. The ex­quis­ite ar­ti­facts show­cas­ing the an­cient Chi­nese splen­did civ­i­liza­tion have at­tracted more than 20 mil­lion vis­i­tors.

At present, China and Chile are dis­cussing an agree­ment to es­tab­lish a cul­tural cen­ter in San­ti­ago. I be­lieve that the es­tab­lish­ment of the cen­ter will fur­ther pro­mote cul­tural ex­changes be­tween the two coun­tries and en­hance mu­tual un­der­stand­ing and friend­ship be­tween the two peoples.

How do the Chile ans view China?

The peo­ple of China and Chile en­joy a long-stand­ing friend­ship. Since the first group of Chi­nese im­mi­grants ar­rived in Chile in the mid-19th cen­tury, the Chilean Chi­nese have worked hard to in­te­grate into Chilean so­ci­ety while help­ing the lo­cals to un­der­stand Chi­nese cul­ture bet­ter.

When Chilean peo­ple de­scribe a hard-work­ing per­son, they of­ten say “he works like a Chi­nese”.

On Oct 1, 1952, politi­cian Sal­vador Al­lende, the fa­mous poet Neruda, artist Ven­turelli and other Chilean friends ini­ti­ated the cre­ation of Latin Amer­ica’s first China-friendly or­ga­ni­za­tion, the Chile-China Cul­tural In­sti­tute.

When Al­lende be­came pres­i­dent, he soon de­cided to es­tab­lish diplo­matic re­la­tions with China, mak­ing Chile the first South Amer­i­can to do so. Neruda made two vis­its to China and wrote po­ems to cel­e­brate the Chi­nese rev­o­lu­tion.

The Chilean friends of China nur­tured the Chilean peo­ple’s friendly feel­ings to­ward the Chi­nese peo­ple. Nowa­days, my Chilean friends have ex­pressed ad­mi­ra­tion for China’s great achieve­ment.

Li Baorong, am­bas­sador to Chile

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