Leaders vow cooperation

Updated: 2013-05-28 02:13


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President Xi Jinping and Uruguayan President Jose Mujica on Monday pledged to strengthen "comprehensive cooperation" to facilitate their domestic agendas and Sino-Latin American relations.

The two "good friends and partners" signed several agreements about cooperation in economy, trade, education, technology and information.

Observers said the agreements will improve the quality of China-Uruguay economic cooperation and lead China to the huge Southern Common Market, also known as Mercosur, including Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Calling the China-Uruguay relationship a model of cooperation between developing countries, Xi said China would like to share development opportunities and jointly address challenges with Uruguay as the two countries face a similar task: bringing Uruguay to the level of moderately developed countries and realizing China's rejuvenation though development.

Xi urged both sides to take "concrete measures" to implement the five-year plan of their economic and trade cooperation, and properly carry out cooperation programs in automobile manufacturing, telecommunications, finance and chemical industry.

Mujica, who made his first visit to China as president on Saturday to Tuesday, said the two countries should "build a closer relationship in all aspects" as China is an "extremely important" partner for both Uruguay and Mercosur.

"The economies of China and Uruguay are highly complementary," Mujica said when addressing Beijing Foreign Studies University on Monday, adding Uruguay exports a great quantity of beef, wool and soybeans to China, while China's advanced technology, rich experience in infrastructure and great investment capacity is what Uruguay needs for development.

Strengthening ties

Mutual understanding is the basis of bilateral relations development, Mujica said. "It's not simply about the economy but with more requirements of cultural communication and trust." He suggested building Confucius Institutes in Uruguay, saying: "We have such a necessity."

During the visit, Mujica has visited Tianjin on Sunday to learn about the city's experiences in railway and port development, and is scheduled to attend China Beijing International Fair for Trade in Services on Tuesday.

In 2012, China surpassed Brazil as the country's largest trading partner. According to official statistics, bilateral trade reached about $4.33 billion last year, about 20 times more than it was in 1988, when the two countries established diplomatic ties.

Liu Yuqin, a researcher of Latin American studies at the China Foundation for International Studies, said Uruguay is still an agricultural country, and Chinese investment in Uruguay's agricultural business will enhance the development of the local economy.

Xi said China is also keen on strengthening cooperation and dialogue with Mercosur members and hopes China-Uruguay relations can be a highlight of cooperation with Latin America.

Mujica, who currently holds the rotating presidency of Mercosur, said Uruguay will make efforts to promote all-round pragmatic cooperation between the bloc and

Zhang Fan contributed to this story.