APEC 2018: Piñera, Xi vow to lift Chile-China ties to new heights

PORT MORESBY – Chilean President Sebastian Piñera held a bilateral meeting with his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping during the sidelines of the ongoing Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders’ Meeting on Saturday.

During the meeting in Papua New Guinea’s capital city of Port Moresby, Xi extended congratulations to Piñera on his second term as Chilean president, saying China-Chile comprehensive strategic partnership, under the guidance of the two heads of state, would open up a new chapter, achieve new development and make more contributions to overall China-Latin America cooperation.

Chile was the first South American country to establish diplomatic ties with China, and the bilateral ties have long taken a lead among China-Latin America relations, said Xi, hoping bilateral cooperation could enter a new stage under current circumstances.

Both counties have already signed the inter-governmental agreement on the Belt and Road Initiative, and the next move in this regard is to define key areas and projects and strive for early harvest, said the Chinese president.

Chile joins China’s Belt and Road Initiative

At the APEC meeting, Piñera asked the United States and China to end the trade war while stressing the need to defend free trade.

Highlighting the solid foundation and robust development of Chile-China relations, Pinera said that China is Chile’s biggest trade partner and major investment source country, and that the FTA upgrading provided a broader prospect for further cooperation.

Chile will work with China to enhance high-level exchanges, deepen cooperation in areas like trade, investment, infrastructure, technology, and join hands to promote the Belt and Road construction, uphold free trade and build an open world economy, said Pinera.

Xi stressed the role of bilateral cooperation mechanisms, adding that the two sides should take the opportunity of upgrading of the Free Trade Agreement (FTA) to expand the scale of trade, optimize trade structure, deepen investment cooperation, and press ahead major interconnectivity projects, the state-run Xinhua reported.

Xi also proposed holding a series of celebrations as the year of 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of establishment of China-Chile diplomatic relationship.

China supports Chile hosting APEC Economic Leaders’ Meeting next year, and will work jointly with Chile to push forward the construction of the Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific, he added.

Bank of China allowed to operate in Chile