World / Highlights

Foreign media keep close eye on premier's tour

By CHEN WEIHUA (China Daily USA) Updated: 2015-05-25 14:14

Foreign media keep close eye on premier's tour

Premier Li Keqiang meets with Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos on May 21 before the two sides signed key agreements in Bogota, Colombia. [Photo/Xinhua]

For China, South American countries are the farthest away in geographical distance, but the Chinese like the quote "a bosom friend afar brings a distant land near" by Tang Dynasty poet Wang Bo 1,300 years ago to describe the friendship.

The current trip to Latin America by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang, less than a year after one made by President Xi Jinping, has been largely seen as a testament of China's commitment to the relationship.

As Li visits Chile, the last stop of a four-nation tour that included Brazil, Colombia and Peru, many of the news reports have focused on the increasingly mutually beneficial trade and investment ties, such as the transcontinental railway project.

The BBC on Friday described the $100 billion railway across South America linking Brazil's Atlantic coast with Peru's Pacific coast as having "moved a step closer after Peru agreed to study the proposal".

BBC quoted Peruvian President Ollanta Humala as saying that the railway would "consolidate Peru's geopolitical position as a natural gateway to South America".

While some have raised concerns over the project's environmental impact, an AFP report quoted Li as saying in a declaration with Humala that "to create the infrastructure, it is necessary to protect the environment".

Writing in the Americas Quarterly, Eric Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas, said Li's trip follows on and is consistent with the promise that Xi made in January to invest $250 billion in Latin America and the Caribbean over the next 10 years.

"The promise of infrastructure development is not unwelcome, even by the United States, which sees chronic underinvestment in Latin America's creaking infrastructure to be a limiting factor in regional development," Farnsworth wrote.

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