BOGOTA — Premier Li Keqiang’s upcoming visit to Colombia will serve as a solid foundation for the two nations to build stronger ties, a top Chinese diplomat said.
In a recent interview with Xinhua, Chinese Ambassador to Colombia Wang Xiaoyuan hailed the remarkable progress of bilateral cooperation since the two countries forged diplomatic relations 35 years ago.
Thanks to redoubled efforts of generations of leaders and personnel in different fields in China and Colombia, the bilateral ties have developed rapidly and are poised to reach a very important level, Wang said.
Political exchanges have been frequent, with constant communication on global matters such as proposed democratic reforms to the United Nations Security Council, climate change actions and sustainable development, among others, according to him.
Since 1980, the bilateral trade volume has grown from $22.07 million to $15.64 billion, with China becoming Colombia’s second-largest trade partner. China and Colombia cooperate significantly in mining, telecommunications and infrastructure, Wang noted.
On the cultural front, late Colombian writer Gabriel Garcia Marquez, who introduced the world to magic realism with his famous novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, influenced Chinese literature during the 1980s, Wang said.
He added that when Chinese author Mo Yan, who has acknowledged the influence of magic realism in his work, won the Nobel Prize in literature in 2012, it was a celebrated event in Colombia.
Colombia is also home to three Confucius Institutes, where many young Colombians study Chinese. This “new generation of friendship ambassadors will boost the bilateral ties” over the years to come, said Wang.
China and Colombia share similar goals of revival, he said, with China striving to attain the Chinese dream of national rejuvenation and Colombia struggling to end a half century of internal conflict and open a new chapter of peace and reconciliation.
With both countries at a decisive moment of transformation and development, there is greater potential for increased bilateral cooperation, added Wang.
As part of a four-nation swing through South America, Li’s Colombia trip follows his tour to Brazil starting Monday, and he will also visit Peru and Chile afterward.
In Colombia, Li is expected to meet with President Juan Manuel Santos and preside over the signing of a series of cooperation accords, as well as attend a China-Latin America forum for cultural and social interchange between the two peoples, according to the ambassador.