Top Chinese legislator's Colombia visit to boost ties

Updated: 2014-11-25 10:55


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BOGOTA -- Top Chinese legislator Zhang Dejiang's visit to Colombia will promote all-round cooperation between the two countries and between China and Latin America, Chinese Ambassador Wang Xiaoyuan has said.

Zhang, chairman of the Standing Committee of the National People's Congress, arrived in the Colombian capital of Bogota Sunday for an official goodwill visit to boost bilateral relations, particularly legislative ties.

"The China-Colombia relationship is already a key component of the comprehensive cooperation between China and Latin America," Wang said in a recent interview with Xinhua.

Zhang's visit to Colombia is the first by a top Chinese legislator since the two countries established diplomatic ties in 1980.

Zhang will meet President Juan Manuel Santos and hold talks with Congress President Jose David Name Cardozo and President of the Chamber of Representatives Fabio Raul Amin Saleme.

The economies of the two countries are highly complementary and have great potential for cooperation, Wang said.

China-Colombia trade totalled 10.45 billion US dollars in 2013, according to Chinese customs figures. From January to September this year, two-way trade stood at 12 billion dollars, a 54.4 percent increase from the same period last year.

Cultural exchanges have become more "colorful and active" in recent years and several events were held in Colombia to showcase the traditions and contemporary art of China, Wang said.

Besides, Colombians' increasing interest in studying Mandarin has led to the opening of three Confucius Institutes in the country, where in 2013 alone, 921 young students traveled to China to improve their language skills, Wang said.

In the leadup to the 35th anniversary of the establishment of their diplomatic ties, China and Colombia are standing at a new historical starting point, facing both opportunities and challenges, the ambassador said.

Both China and Colombia are emerging economies playing key roles in their respective regions, which can greatly advance bilateral ties, Wang said.

China, he said, will work with Colombia to deepen trade cooperation, promote people-to-people exchanges and consolidate their friendship to tackle global challenges together and boost ties between China and Latin America.

Colombia is the second leg of Zhang's ongoing nine-day Latin America tour, which also includes Peru and Mexico.