China, Colombia elevate ties

By CAO DESHENG | | Updated: 2023-10-26 00:20
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President Xi Jinping meets with Colombian President Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego, who is on a state visit to China, in Beijing on Wednesday. [Photo by Wang Zhuangfei / China Daily]

China and Colombia elevated their relations to a strategic partnership on Wednesday as the two countries vowed to deepen bilateral cooperation and contribute to world peace and development.

President Xi Jinping and visiting Colombian President Gustavo Francisco Petro Urrego announced the upgrading of the countries' ties during their talks in Beijing. Petro started a three-day state visit to China on Tuesday, his first to the country since taking office last year.

During the talks, Xi hailed China-Colombia ties, saying that bilateral relations have withstood the tests of international changes and maintained a good momentum of development.

The two sides understand and support each other on issues concerning their respective core interests and major concerns, and cooperation in various fields has been solidly promoted and the two peoples' friendship has been strengthened, Xi said.

The establishment of a strategic partnership between China and Colombia is the result of long-term efforts by people from all walks of life in both countries, as well as an embodiment of mutual trust and win-win cooperation, he said, adding that the partnership needs to be cherished and continuously enhanced by both sides.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, China was the first country to send vaccines to Colombia. In 2021, in recognition of China's help in fighting the pandemic, Xi was invited to give a speech, via video link, to the people of Colombia.

Chinese imports from Colombia have risen significantly in the last few years, with China becoming the South American nation's second-biggest trading partner after the United States. In 2022, bilateral trade in goods amounted to $22.6 billion, up 13.4 percent year-on-year.

While briefing the Colombian president about China's modernization process, Xi emphasized that China supports Colombia's independent exploration of a development path that suits its national conditions and also supports the country's peace process.

He said that China's high-quality development and modernization will bring new development opportunities to Colombia and other countries.

Noting that China-Colombia relations are based on equality, mutual benefit and win-win results, Xi said the nation welcomes Colombia to participate in the joint building of the Belt and Road to achieve common development and prosperity.

He called on both countries to strive to optimize their bilateral trade structure and strengthen cooperation in areas such as information communications and the digital economy. China encourages more high-quality Colombian products to enter its vast market, and welcomes Colombia to join the China-initiated Global Clean Energy Cooperation Partnership and share opportunities for green development, he added.

Xi noted that China and Colombia, both being developing countries, should strengthen communication and cooperation in international affairs, and safeguard the common interests of developing countries and international fairness and justice.

He congratulated Colombia on taking over the rotating presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in 2025, and said China attaches great importance to the development of Sino-Latin American relations.

China is willing to continue supporting the integration process in Latin America and the Caribbean region and working with regional countries to promote the steady development of relations with the region, he said.

Petro said that he highly values the Belt and Road Initiative, and Colombia wants to align its geographical advantages and development strategy with the BRI, strengthen cooperation with China in infrastructure, clean energy and other fields, and welcomes Chinese companies to invest in the country.

Colombia is ready to maintain communication with China on the Palestine-Israel situation and promote a solution to de-escalate the conflict, he said.

After the talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of multiple bilateral cooperation documents in various areas, including industrial investment, trade, the digital economy, green development, agriculture, science and technology, education and culture, as well as customs inspection and quarantine.

A joint statement on establishing a strategic partnership between the two countries was issued.

Before their talks, Xi held a welcoming ceremony for Petro at the Great Hall of the People.

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