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Maritime Silk Road, Dialogue of Civilizations Are Key Themes in Chinese Premier’s Visit to Peru

May 22, 2015 (EIRNS)—In addition to the six bilateral accords to be signed by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Peruvian President Ollanta Humala in their meeting late this afternoon, Peru’s role in China’s 16th Century maritime Silk Road, and its interest in participating in today’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road are themes shaping discussions as well. Li Keqiang’s official two-day visit began today.

The fact that Peru also shares with China a "millenarian history and splendid ancient civilization," as China’s ambassador to Peru, Huang Minhui, explained to the Andina news agency, has created the basis for an important cultural dialogue between the two nations. Among his many activities, El Comercio reported, Li Keqiang will attend a "Meeting of Chinese and Latin American Civilizations" seminar at the National Archaeology, Anthropology and History Museum, and view an exhibit there on the origins of Chinese civilization. He will later visit the Pachacamac archaeological site outside of Lima

Peru’s participation in the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, one component of which will be the building of the bioceanic railroad from Brazil to Peru, is on the agenda. Peru’s Foreign Minister Ana Sanchez stressed in an interview with Xinhua that her government is intent on strengthening and deepening its trade, economic, and investment relationship with China, and seeks "mutually-beneficial synergies." This translates specifically, she said, into strengthening commercial ties through China’s 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, as well as "establishing the complementarity between that project and the railroad route which, in the future, will unite Brazil’s Atlantic coast with Peru’s Pacific coast."

Sanchez emphasized that Peru has only a positive evaluation of China’s economic reforms, its many achievements, and contributions "over centuries" to such areas as science, philosophy, art, and advanced technology. Today, China’s economy is a "factor of stability in the world economy," she said.

Ambassador Huang Minhui pointed out that Peru’s and China’s "cultural and ethnic complementarity" dates back to the 16th Century, when "there was already a maritime Silk Road along the Pacific which joined China to Latin America by way of Mexico and Peru." In the 19th Century, she added, a very large number of Chinese immigrants arrived in Peru to work "shoulder to shoulder" with Peruvians in planting sugar cane, cotton, and in building railroads. Peruvians of Chinese descent make up more than 10% of the nation’s population, she added. Li Keqiang will be meeting with members of the Chinese-Peruvian community, and with Chinese businessmen who work in Peru, among others.