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Interview: Colombian president hopes to bolster ties with China

By Pan Guojun and Hou Xiwen (Xinhua)

10:56, May 07, 2012

BOGOTA, May 6 (Xinhua) -- Colombian President Juan Manuel Santos said one of the main goals of his upcoming visit to China is to demonstrate the two countries are important partners.

In an exclusive interview with Xinhua ahead of the May 8-12 trip, his first as president, Santos said he hopes Colombia could expand cooperation with China in all fields and become an "important ally" of China.

"Colombia wants to be an increasingly better and closer friend of China," he told Xinhua at the presidential office in Bogota, Colombia's capital.

He said he hopes the bilateral ties, which have been progressing steadily since the two countries established diplomatic ties 32 years ago, will be strengthened during his visit.

Santos said Colombia attaches importance to developing friendly ties with China in a bid to establish a "much closer framework of cooperation between the two countries."

Once such a framework is established, he said, it can be expanded throughout Asia and Latin America, two continents that should join forces to have greater influence on the world stage.

"I think we can, in an increasingly globalized world, work together in many areas," Santos said.

He also said he admires the economic achievements made by China since the country adopted the reform and opening-up policy in the late 1970s.

For Colombia, he said, China is a very important market that has huge consumption potential due to its big population.

Santos said he hopes his visit will help Colombia gain access to the huge Chinese market.

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