Foreign and Military Affairs

Chilean President Pinera to begin state visit to China

Updated: 2010-11-15 16:19
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BEIJING -- At the invitation of Chinese President Hu Jintao, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera will begin a state visit to China Monday.

Pinera, who took office in March, received global attention for the recent successful rescue of miners at the San Jose gold and silver mine in northern Chile.

Thanks to the Chilean government's efforts, 33 miners trapped 700 meters underground after a cave in at the mine on August 5 were brought out on October 13.

Pinera has played an important role in letting the world know about a new Chile.

On August 7, Pinera immediately stopped his visit to Colombia and rushed to the mine to offer his support to the relatives of the trapped miners.

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Pinera supervised the last two days of the rescue work and hugged every miner that was lifted to the surface.

Pinera took office shortly after a 8.8-magnitude earthquake hit the nation's central-south region on February 27. He led the post-quake reconstruction and also battled with an economic recession.

Chile became the first South American country to establish diplomatic ties with China on December 15, 1970.

Pinera has attached importance to developing Chile-China relations. He said in August that developing relations with China was one of Chile's highest priorities.

Since the new government took office in March, three ministers including Foreign Minister Alfredo Moreno have visited China.

Chile looks forward to enhancing relations with China in politics, economics and trade, culture and in other areas, Pinera told Xinhua ahead of his first presidential visit to China.

Although thousands of miles apart, the two countries have maintained friendly ties since they established diplomatic relations 40 years ago, Pinera said.

Pinera, 61, is a partner in several major enterprises in Chile, including the airline LAN Chile and the publisher Los Andes. He is a billionaire.

On December 13, 2009, Pinera took part in the presidential campaign as the candidate for the Coalition for Change. He won the January 17 runoff and became Chile's 51st president.