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SANTIAGO - Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao delivered a speech at the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and Caribbean on Tuesday.
The following is the full text of his speech:
Trusted Friends Forever
Address by H.E. Wen Jiabao
Premier of the State Council of the People's Republic of China
At the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean of the United Nations
Santiago, 26 June 2012
Your Excellency Executive Secretary Alicia Barcena,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It gives me great pleasure to come to the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC) on the occasion of my visit to four Latin American countries after attending the UN Conference on Sustainable Development. I wish to begin by extending, on behalf of the Chinese government and people, cordial greetings to the people of Chile and other Latin American and Caribbean countries. I also wish to pay high tribute to ECLAC for its efforts over the years in promoting relations between China and Latin America and the Caribbean.
Latin America and the Caribbean is a magical land known for its vast expanse, spectacular landscape, rich resources and splendid cultures. It is where the Maya, Inca and Aztec cultures were nurtured, and it is home to both natural wonders and an ancient civilization of the world. The lush and extensive Amazon virgin forest, the majestic Andes mountains and the charming Caribbean sea make this region a distinctive and enchanting place. The astronomical calendar invented by the Mayans, the Pyramids of the Sun and the Moon built by the Aztecs and the maize, sweet potato and pumpkin cultivated by the Incans are the fine achievements of human civilization known and shared across the world. They attest to the exceptional ingenuity of the people living on this land. Latin America is known for its rich literature and art. It has produced the passionate and exquisite Latin songs and dances, and such literary giants as Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Jorge Luis Borges. The Latin American civilization has come into being through the long course of development of this region. It is also a product of exchanges and mutual learning with other civilizations in the world. Such cultural interactions are a natural development independent from people's will. Both the Latin American and Chinese civilizations are open, inclusive and innovative, always ready to draw upon the fine achievements of all human civilizations. This is the fundamental reason why our two civilizations have survived and thrived.
This is my third visit to Latin America. It has given me the opportunity to gain more first-hand knowledge and do some deep thinking about the Latin American countries. Everywhere I went, from Rio de Janeiro to Montevideo, and from Buenos Aires to Santiago, I could feel the warm hospitality of the Latin American people and the vibrancy of economic and social development in the region. What has impressed me most is that governments of the Latin American countries have adapted their domestic and foreign policies to the changing circumstances in recent years and focused on pursuing coordinated economic and social development. You have effectively countered the international financial crisis, achieved steady economic recovery, and become one of the important engines driving global recovery. You have made concerted efforts in advancing regional integration and established the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC). This has bolstered the coherence, capability and influence of the region. Latin America and the Caribbean today is a major emerging power on rapid rise and plays an increasingly important, constructive role in global economic governance, sustainable development and other critical issues. As a good friend and good partner of the Latin American and Caribbean people, we feel truly happy for what you have achieved. We firmly believe that a growing Latin America and the Caribbean serves the interest of world peace and development.
In spite of the geographical distance, our two sides have a time-honored history of friendly exchanges. Entering the new century, our relations have embarked on a fast track of development, showing sound momentum of all-dimensional, wide-ranging and multi-tiered growth. High-level exchanges between us have become closer and mutual political trust has deepened. In 2008, the Chinese government issued China's Policy Paper on Latin America and the Caribbean, and proposed to build a comprehensive and cooperative partnership featuring equality, mutual benefit and common development between the two sides. It was well received by the Latin American and Caribbean countries. Our practical cooperation has made substantive progress. Since 2001, two-way trade has been growing at an average annual rate of over 30%, reaching $241.5 billion last year. China has become Latin America's second largest trading partner and a major source of investment. Our cooperation in finance, resources, energy, infrastructure, high technology, agriculture and other fields has also expanded, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges have deepened. Both China and Latin America are birthplaces of human civilization with similar national conditions and splendid cultures. And now, we are at the same stage of development, face the same task of development and share extensive common interests. As long as we continue to treat each other on the basis of mutual respect and equality, and accommodate each other's core interests and major concerns, we can be good friends who trust and rely on each other, and good partners who draw on each other's strengths and cooperate for mutual benefit. Our friendship will stand as firm as the Himalayas and the Andes.