Views: 1 Author: Site Editor Publish Time: 2016-03-31 Origin: Site
President Xi Jinping expressed support on Wednesday for Chinese companies doing business in Colombia, or planning to do so, and said he looked forward to expanding areas of cooperation.
"We support Chinese enterprises investing in Colombia," Xi said during a meeting with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos in the Philippine capital Manila on Wednesday.
Xi was attending the 23rd Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Economic Leaders' meeting, on Wednesday and Thursday. Though Colombia is not an official member, Santos was invited as an observer.
Xi said China will enhance cooperation with Colombia in finance, infrastructure, manufacturing, new energy and agriculture, and as this year marks the 35th anniversary of Sino-Colombian diplomatic relations, he promoted "pushing bilateral ties to a new level".
China is willing to join hands with Colombia, he said, to further explore and realize the potential of trade and foster new sources of growth to maintain development momentum.
Xi also called for greater people-to-people exchanges in culture, education, tourism and local government to increase understanding and friendship between the peoples of both countries, especially as 2016 has been designated as the China-Latin America Year of Cultural Exchange, a concept promoted by Xi last year.
Xi said he is happy to see Colombia's "significant progress in peace".
Santos echoed Xi's remarks, and said Colombia is willing to strengthen its friendship with China.
He expressed his willingness to expand cooperation in infrastructure, agricultural production and processing, and noted that Colombia wants to have greater communication and coordination with China on international and regional affairs.
He also expressed his hope to see China backing United Nations' support for the peace process in Colombia.
Xu Shicheng, a senior researcher in Latin American studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said Colombia is shifting its diplomatic focus to the Asia-Pacific region, especially China, as half of its international trade is conducted with the region.
"President Xi's meeting with Santos will definitely facilitate the two countries' relations politically and economically," Xu said.
China's trade with Colombia has increased in the past year, though overall trade with most Latin American countries was either dropping or slowing down, Xu said, referring to it as a sign of "good momentum", which Xi also mentioned in the meeting.
Last year, Colombia replaced Argentina as Latin America's third-largest economy, following Brazil and Mexico.
China has become Colombia's second-largest trade partner.
In 2014, bilateral trade volume reached $15.5 billion, 700 times more than it was when the two nations established formal relations in 1980, according to Wang Xiaoyuan, Chinese ambassador to Colombia.
Xi also met with New Zealand Prime Minister John Key on the sidelines of the economic meeting. The two agreed on expanding cooperation in trade, agriculture and education.
Key said he welcomes more Chinese enterprises investing in New Zealand.