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Premier: ‘Great potential’ for Sino-Colombian ties

Updated: May 22,2015 11:56 AM

With plenty of ceremony, Premier Li Keqiang and Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos pledged to deepen their nations’ economic and cultural ties on May 21 during an official meeting in the Latin American nation’s capital.

“Although the two countries are far apart, their economic cooperation has great potential, especially when Colombia is in a rebuilding process at the moment and is in need of infrastructure construction,” the Premier said at a press conference after the meeting.

China and Colombia signed 12 agreements, including deals in infrastructure construction and more cooperation in industrial capacity.

“China is willing to import more agricultural products from Colombia, such as coffee,” Li said. “If time permits, I’d like to play Ping-Pong with President Santos.

“On the other hand, China is willing to see more Colombia soccer players and coaches come to China and help us improve in that field,” the Premier said in a reference to China’s ambitions to improve its soccer prowess.

Santos said Premier Li is the highest-level Chinese leader to visit the country in 30 years, and the trip will be a milestone in bilateral ties.

“Colombia highly values China’s influence in the Asia-Pacific region,” Santos said.

Bilateral trade with China has grown from $22 million in 1980 to $15.6 billion in 2014, and China has become Colombia’s second-largest trade partner, with a focus on mining, telecommunications and infrastructure.