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Xi's visit opens new chapter in China-Latin America ties, says UN official


08:47, June 09, 2013

SANTIAGO, June 8 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping's three-country tour through Latin America and the Caribbean will boost ties between China and the region and open a new chapter in the history of their relations, a senior UN official said here.

In a recent interview with Xinhua, Osvaldo Rosales, director of International Trade and Integration of the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), pointed out the important position of Trinidad and Tobago, Costa Rica and Mexico, Xi's three stops, in the region.

"These visits will serve as good examples for the development of bilateral ties between China and other countries in the region," said Rosales.

Xi's visit to Trinidad and Tobago "marks the first time a Chinese leader has visited the English-speaking Caribbean state," noted Rosales.

Besides meeting with high officials of Trinidad and Tobago, the Chinese president also held talks with leaders of Suriname, Barbados, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, the Bahamas and Jamaica.

The contacts signified closer ties with these economies, and several cooperation agreements were signed in fields such as mining, agriculture, and telecommunications, said Rosales.

On Xi's visit to Costa Rica, Rosales noted that the two nations signed agreements amounting to 1.4 billion U.S. dollars for a state-run refinery and the reconstruction of highways and public transportation.

Rosales spoke highly of the importance of Xi's visit to Costa Rica in view of the fact that the Seventh China-Latin America Business Summit will be held in Costa Rica's capital San Jose in November and Costa Rica will assume in January the rotating presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC), currently held by Cuba.

As for Xi's visit to Mexico, during which the two countries elevated their ties to comprehensive strategic partnership, Rosales said "it is important to highlight that (Mexican) President Enrique Pena Nieto visited China in April during the Boao Forum... Barely two months later, President Xi Jinping has already returned the favor."

The ECLAC official stressed that the first meeting between the two presidents was in China and it marked the first time that a Mexican president met with his Chinese counterpart before meeting with his U.S. counterpart, Barack Obama, who visited Mexico in May.

"That points to a historical change that we should consider closely," said Rosales.

Rosales hailed Xi's efforts to strengthen trade and investment with Mexico and to create Chinese-Mexican business alliances.

He said that the Chinese president's tour of the region opened a new chapter in the relations between the two sides and their ties were experiencing fast growth.

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