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South America ‘Should Actively Participate in the Belt and Road Initiative’

Nov. 12, 2016 (EIRNS)—These were the words of Jorge Heine, Chile’s ambassador to China, in an interview with Xinhua news agency published yesterday. He made these remarks in anticipation of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s trip to South America on Nov. 17-23, during which he will attend the Nov. 19-20 Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in Lima, Peru, and make a state visit to that nation, as well as to Ecuador and Chile.

In statements to TeleSUR, China’s Deputy Foreign Minister Wang Chao said that Xi Jinping intends to use this tour to strengthen economic ties with the three countries, with an eye toward diversifying into such areas as electronics, infrastructure building, including building industrial parks, and strengthening "industrial production capacity," guided by the principles of "mutual trust, reciprocal training and mutual benefit."

Ambassador Heine told Xinhua that

"Chinese capital and technology will help Latin America improve its infrastructure, industry and connectivity, and said that Chile expects to attract Chinese investment and boost cooperation with China in digital technology.

"The Belt and Road Initiative and Xi’s upcoming visit is of great significance, and will boost two-way cooperation in politics, economy and trade, as well as culture,"

Heine added. "Latin America must be a part" of China’s Belt and Road Initiative, he underscored, stressing that Chinese construction firms can play an important role in helping to build the infrastructure that South America so urgently needs.

Chile was the first South American nation to establish diplomatic ties with China in 1970, and the first to sign a free trade agreement with China, Xinhua noted. Chile wants to "deepen" its Free Trade Agreement with China, Heine said, and pointed out that China’s State Power Investment Corp. "has just landed" in Chile with $1 billion to invest and is looking into purchasing the Chilean lithium producer, Soquimich.

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