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Latin America, the Caribbean and China: we are great souls

By Manuel A. González Sanz (Global Times)    07:16, January 09, 2015

A wise Chinese proverb, by an unknown author, states that: "great souls have wills; the weak ones only wishes". With this thought, I have hopes for Latin America, the Caribbean and China, regions with great souls, to unite wills to build a better future. An important starting point was when, in the context of the official launch of the China – CELAC (Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) Forum, held in Brasilia in July 2014, President Xi Jinping, clearly delineated China´s policy and position on Latin America and the Caribbean, announcing the establishment of the Association of China-Latin America and the Caribbean Comprehensive Cooperation.

This is the right moment to briefly mention the principles of this historic and visionary proposal made by President Xi and that allows to a better understanding of the future of a strategic relationship: a) Promote sincere mutual help, in equal conditions and intensify the exchange of experiences on governance and policy management, as well as to deepen mutual trust; b) Promote common development, based on the 1+3+6 framework, where 1 refers to “one plan”, which is the China – Latin America and the Caribbean Cooperation Plan 2015-2019, which main objective is to achieve inclusive growth and sustainable development. 3 are the “three great engines”: commerce, investment and financial cooperation, as generators of comprehensive development under a pragmatic scheme. The goal is that for 2025, bilateral trade scales up to US$500 billion and China´s direct investment in Latin America reaches US$ 250 billion. 6 refers to the “six priority areas” of cooperation to achieve that connection between both regions: energy, infrastructure, agriculture, industry, scientific and technological innovation, and information technologies; c) Create a special line of credit for infrastructure projects for US$ 10 billion and progressively increase its amount to US$ 20 billion, as well as to make available preferential lines of credit for a total of US$ 10 billion; d) Comprehensively activate the China – Latin America and the Caribbean Cooperation Fund with an initial commitment by the Chinese Part of US$ 5 billion; e) Create a Special Fund for Agricultural Cooperation of US$ 50 million; f) Launch the “Scientific and Technological Partnership Program” and the “Young Scientists Exchange Program” that will be organized in due time within the framework of the First Scientific – Technological Innovation Forum; g) Promote and strengthen the exchange between governments, legislative bodies, political parties and governments at the local level, as well as enhance the exchange and cooperation in education, culture, sport, tourism and press; h) Grant, during the next five years, 6000 government scholarships, 6000 training offers in China and 400 offers of Master’s degree programs. The Beijing government will also invite a 1000 leaders of political parties of the Latin American and Caribbean countries to make visits and exchanges; and in 2015 the program “Bridge towards the Future” will be launched, which will train a thousand Chinese and Latin American and Caribbean Youth leaders. Furthermore, in 2016, China has proposed to celebrate the China-Latin America and the Caribbean Cultural Exchange Year”; i) Promote the collaboration within the framework of the international organisms and multilateral mechanisms such as the United Nations (UN), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), the G-20 and G-77, on global matters and issues such as global governance, sustainable development, climate change and cyber-security and, reinforce the dialogue and cooperation in the Asian-Pacific and Latin American and Caribbean issues and j) Promote to adhere to cooperation with Latin America and the Caribbean as a whole and foster relations at the bilateral level.

As a region, wishful of successfully confronting the challenges of the XXI century, we receive President Xi´s approach as a clear manifestation of shortening distances and tightening a sincere friendship based on mutual trust. It is worth mentioning that the establishment of the China – CELAC Forum and the celebration of this First Ministerial Meeting in Beijing, on January 8th and 9th, 2015, which I will be honored to preside, in virtue of Costa Rica´s capacity as CELAC´s Pro Tempore Presidency, along with the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the People´s Republic of China, Wang Yi. This is a great step in order to accomplish the main objective, which is to establish this historic platform of benefits and opportunities between both regions. Launching the works of the CELAC – China Forum evidences the solid relationship existent between Latin America and the Caribbean and the People´s Republic of China, being this one more step towards the consolidation and deepening of this relationship. This is a partnership of cooperation and collaboration based on the principles of equality, mutual respect and common benefit, flexibility and voluntary participation, as well as common development of both Parts. This is thus a platform that enables the deepening of cooperation that promotes more comprehensive and inclusive development and that contributes to the strengthening of the political, economic, social and cultural integration between the Latin American and Caribbean region and China, with the final goal of building towards a common objective of progress and development.

Costa Rica celebrates President Xi Jinping´s initiative to propose and intensively work to accomplish the so-called “Chinese dream”, that hopes for the revitalization of the Chinese nation. We, in Latin America and the Caribbean, have our “own dream”, a dream of unity, cooperation, development and of the rebirth of our region. The dreams and common aspirations unite us. The CELAC – China Forum is an opportunity so that we, together, with great souls, can build the wills, so that as a community with a shared destiny, with an innovative and driven spirit, achieve a promising future for the China – Latin American and Caribbean relations. In this effort, Costa Rica reiterates the desire to join the peoples and government of China in this process of coming together and strengthening the relations with Latin America.

The author is Minister of Foreign Affairs of Republic of Costa Rica

(For the latest China news, Please follow People's Daily on Twitter and Facebook)(Editor:Liang Jun,Bianji)

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