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Key areas for boosting Sino-Argentine ties

By Diego Ramiro Guelar | China Daily | Updated: 2017-02-16 07:35

Key areas for boosting Sino-Argentine ties

Street photo of Argentina.[Photo/Xinhua]

The historical link between China and Argentina is much older than their diplomatic relations. But despite the development of commercial and cultural exchanges after the founding of the People's Republic of China in 1949, bilateral political relations were not realized.

These backgrounds created the ideal environment for the establishment of formal diplomatic China-Argentina relations on Feb 19, 1972. Argentina was one of the first countries in Latin America to strengthen diplomatic ties with China shortly after the People's Republic of China regained its rightful seat in the United Nations.

It is worth mentioning that every single Argentine president elected since the reinstatement of democracy in the country has visited China. Gradually, through the numerous delegations led by different heads of state, as well as the visits of Chinese leaders to our country, the close relationship we are witnessing today was built.

In 1972, however, it was practically inconceivable that the two countries would be tied in a prosperous and multi-dimensional bond today. The most meaningful aspects of the comprehensive strategic partnership between China and Argentina were consolidated over the last 10 years. And five factors form the core of that partnership:

Food supply. Argentina and Brazil supplied 23 percent of China's total imports, followed by the United States with 20 percent.

Mining resources. The efficient utilization of crucial minerals, such as iron, copper and lithium, for China's development provides an extraordinary opportunity for Argentina.

Energy and transport infrastructure. Chinese enterprises are interested in providing their expertise in the design and development of road and rail infrastructure, as well as hydropower, and solar and nuclear power. These enterprises have the technical ability and the financial means to do so, and are keen to be associated with Argentine companies, starting the process of transference of know-how and resources.

Tourism. In 2016, more than 120 million Chinese people traveled across the world, but only 30,000 of them visited Argentina. We hope to raise that figure to 1 million in 10 years, by promoting our tourist attractions and simplifying our visa procedure.

Relationship based on sports: President Xi Jinping has set a goal of turning China into a soccer power, for which he has sought Argentina's cooperation. There is huge potential for the inclusion of Argentine coaches and players in China, which could help transform soccer in China.

As such, the China-Argentina relationship is an extraordinary wealth for both countries, not only in terms of cultural and educational interactions, but also for technical cooperation, academic exchanges and other mutually fruitful partnerships.

The author is Argentina's ambassador to China.

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