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Benefits of Xi's visits

(China Daily)

09:11, June 07, 2013

President Xi Jinping wrapped up a whirlwind three-nation tour to the Caribbean and Latin America on Thursday in Mexico. The fruits of Xi's trip indicate China's new leadership is both sincere and committed to stepping up the country's engagement with the growing and economically vibrant region.

In Mexico, Xi and his Mexican counterpart Enrique Pena Nieto decided to raise the bilateral relationship to a comprehensive strategic partnership. This marks a new beginning in Sino-Mexican cooperation and sets a clear target for the development of bilateral ties over the next decade.

Among a series of initiatives to promote bilateral cooperation, the two sides announced that China will build a Chinese cultural center in Mexico City, the first in Latin America and the Caribbean, and a Mexican cultural center will be set up in Beijing. The move will help lay a solid foundation for deepening mutual understanding between the two peoples.

Xi's speech at the Mexican Senate on Wednesday set the tone for promoting a comprehensive cooperative partnership between China and Mexico and the Latin American region as a whole. Xi suggested China and Latin American countries continue to show due consideration to each other's core interests and major concerns, tap the potential of bilateral economic cooperation and enhance dialogue.

With their shared aspirations for common development, China and Latin American nations now face a historic opportunity to expand their cooperation beyond energy to include such sectors as finance, agriculture, infrastructure, science and technology, aerospace and tourism.

China is the second-largest trading partner of Latin America and a leading source of investment in the region. Even amidst the global economic downturn, bilateral trade reached $261.2 billion in 2012, a year-on-year increase of 8.1 percent. The figure could rise to $400 billion by 2017.

As important partners in South-South cooperation, both sides also have a growing need to cooperate more in regional and international platforms and the newly established Latin America panel at the Bo'ao Forum for Asia.

With complementary economic structures and common needs and potentials for domestic growth, China and Latin American countries will benefit even more from their practical and reciprocal cooperation, which will in turn contribute to the development and prosperity of the region and beyond.

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