Premier Li Keqiang and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet addressed an economic forum in Santiago, Chile, on May 26 to mark the 45th anniversary of China-Chile diplomatic relations and the decade since the bilateral free trade agreement came into effect.
Li offered three suggestions for China-Chile cooperation: keep expanding bilateral trade; enhance industrial and investment cooperation; and deepen cultural exchanges and share governance experience. He said as Chinese bronzeware is renowned in history and Chilean copper products are world famous, the two nations’ friendship should be just as strong.
Li said China and Chile — the first South American country to establish diplomatic relations with China in 1970 — should seize the opportunity of infrastructure construction to deepen capacity collaboration and push forward cooperation in equipment manufacturing to contribute to the recovery of the global economy.
The Premier said China is willing to expand trade with Chile and upgrade the China-Chile free trade area. He added that China is willing to participate in Chilean infrastructure construction through various ways, and strengthen financial cooperation as China will set up the first Latin American renminbi offshore center in Santiago.
He said China is willing to share its experience of governance and cooperate with Chile in dealing with natural disasters and protecting the environment.
The Premier cited a Latin American idiom to express his hope to see entrepreneurs of both nations seize the chance to contribute to economic cooperation between China and Chile: It is better to seize today than capture two tomorrows.
The CEO of Chile’s International Construction Company said Premier Li’s visit is of great significance to Latin America and will help local industries to upgrade as Chinese enterprises will participate in big infrastructure projects and bring in more money and business opportunities.
Bachelet reviewed many records since Chile and China established diplomatic relations: Chile was the first country in South America to establish diplomatic relations with China, as well as the first Latin American country to sign a free-trade agreement with China.
She also mentioned that Chile was the first country that held a state banquet where the national anthems were sung, evoking laughter from the guests. In the official banquet held earlier to welcome Premier Li, the sound system failed and could not play the anthems. Li instantly suggested that people present sing the anthems instead, saving his host any embarrassment.
More than 450 entrepreneurs and government officials from China and Chile gave a prolonged applause to the two leaders’ speeches.