At the invitation of Ecuadoran President Rafael Correa, Peruvian President Pedro PabloKuczynski and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, Chinese President Xi Jinping will kickoff a week-long Latin America trip starting from Nov. 17, during which Xi will attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting in Lima,Peru. The visit will be the last overseas trip of the year for Chinese leaders.
Ecuador enjoys a traditional friendship with China featuring mutual trust and complementary advantages. During a state visit made by Correa to China in January 2015,Chinese and Ecuadoran leaders decided to upgrade bilateral ties to a strategic partnership.As the first ever trip to Ecuador by a Chinese head of state, Xi’s visit will raise bilateral ties to a new high.
China and Peru are also good friends with mutual trust and common development. Peru is the only Latin American country that has both established a comprehensive strategic partnership and signed bilateral free trade agreements with China. China has become Peru’s biggest trade partner, export destination and source of imports. Xi’s state visit to Peru, coming on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic ties between the countries, will elevate their bilateral relationship.
China and Chile are close partners as well. Chile was the first Latin American country to establish a diplomatic relationship with the People’s Republic of China, and also the first in Latin America to sign a free trade agreement with China. As close strategic partners,China and Chile are now witnessing enhanced political trust, deepened pragmatic cooperation and expanded cultural exchange. Xi’s visit, coming when bilateral ties are at an all-time high, will propel the countries’ strategic partnership to even greater heights.
As important partners to China in Latin America, Ecuador, Peru and Chile are on the forefront of Latin American cooperation with China. During Xi’s visit to Latin America in July 2014, he proposed raising the China-Latin America trade volume to $500 billion within a decade, and increasing FDI stock in Latin America to $250 billion. He also proposed establishing the “1+3+6” China-Latin America cooperation framework.
The first China-CELAC Forum meeting held in Beijing in January 2015 marked a new status for the relationship between China and Latin America – a status wherein integral and bilateral cooperation develop together and reinforce one another. Now, Xi’s Latin America tour is expected to consolidate this cooperation and advance China-Latin America ties still further.
At present, given the sustained yet slow and imbalanced global economic recovery, the economy in the Asia-Pacific region has slowed a little. Nevertheless, it is still a region with great vitality and potential. Faced with various new challenges, APEC needs to develop by following the current trends and adopting an innovative mindset to forge ahead.
China is not only a participant, promoter and guide for Asia-Pacific cooperation, it is also a constructor of and contributor to APEC. China offered a roadmap for building an “Asia-Pacific community of common destiny” at the 2013 APEC meeting in Bali, by calling on countries in the Asia-Pacific to seek common, open, innovative and interactive development.
At the 2014 APEC meeting in Beijing, China was the first to propose the Asia-Pacific dream of common development, prosperity and advancement. It also initiated the building of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. During the 2015 APEC meeting in Manila, China urged for the formulation of mid- and long-term strategic frameworks for Asia-Pacific cooperation.
China has always upheld the idea that reform and innovation should be carried out together in order to develop the Asia-Pacific region and economy. The APEC trade ministers’ meeting, held in May, implemented the agreed-upon terms from the 2014 APEC meeting in Beijing, which indicates that collective strategic research on the Asia-Pacific free trade zone has entered its final stage.
During this year’s APEC meeting, attendees will focus on Asia-Pacific economic integration, and will together reinforce the important role of the Asia-Pacific region in global economic growth.
Xi’s third Latin America trip and fourth attendance of an APEC Economic Leaders’Meeting will bring China more friends, cement its status in the world and provide more public goods for global governance and world development. With domestic development in China, countries have a chance to learn from each other and seek mutually beneficial cooperation. China will contribute wisdom and strength to peaceful development, and the world will get to witness these admirable efforts.
(This article is published on People’s Daily Online)