World / Latin America

China, Ecuador agree on visa exemption

By ZHAO YINAN ( Updated: 2015-01-08 19:11

China and Ecuador reach an agreement on visa exemption, as the smallest OPEC member works to attract more Chinese tourists and investors in an effort to diversify its energy-reliant economy amid deep oil price plunge.

Under the agreement, Chinese passport holders will be able to visit the Andean country of abundant tourism attractions without applying for a visa in advance, said Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa at a meeting with Premier Li Keqiang in Beijing on Thursday.

Correa, on a visit to attend the first ministerial meeting of the Forum of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States, said, “hundreds of thousands of Chinese tourists will come to Ecuador after the procedures are simplified”, and he hopes that direct flight from Quito to Beijing will start soon.

Correa promoted Ecuador’s highly diversified cultures, landscapes and species at a Wednesday address at Beijing-based Tsinghua University, saying he hopes the number of Chinese tourists will jump from the current 15,000 to 150,000 in a few years.

The Latin American country, known for its diversified species, is the place where Charles Darwin got inspired for his masterpiece The Origin of Species.

China and Ecuador upgraded their 35-year-old ties to a strategic partnership on Wednesday after Correa met Chinese President Xi Jinping.

China has granted a $5.3 billion credit line to Ecuador, and the country will utilize the loan on social projects, transport and infrastructure, Ecuador's official media said.

The two agreed to extend the timeline of two loans and boost cooperation in the financing, education and technology sector.

The deep oil price plunge has compelled Ecuadorian government to cut its 2015 budget by 4 percent.

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