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China-CELAC Forum To Meet Jan. 19-22; China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi To Attend

Jan. 16, 2018 (EIRNS)—The ministerial-level meeting of the China-CELAC Forum (CELAC is the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States) will meet in Santiago, Chile on Jan. 19-22, the second such meeting to be held since the initial January 2015 meeting in Beijing. China’s Foreign Ministry announced today that Foreign Minister Wang Yi will attend, and will also make a state visit to Chile and Uruguay. Both nations are enthusiastic supporters of the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI). Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang emphasized that China views this event as extremely important, and the hope is to raise strategic cooperation between China and the regional bloc “to a higher level,” as well as produce an action plan for the next three years. China is interested in “promoting projects of interest,” Lu said, and stating that there has been significant cooperation in areas such as “production capacity and infrastructure building.” According to Spain’s EFE news service, Wang also intends to hold “in-depth discussions on international and regional matters of common interest.”

In comments to Xinhua, Chile’s former Ambassador to China Fernando Reyes Matta stressed that the ministerial forum is particularly important because of the role China is playing in the world, in Ibero-America, and in “global reordering” generally. Stressing that the BRI “opens new possibilities that will improve relations with Ibero-America,” Reyes nonetheless urged Ibero-America to work on its own integration, so that it can serve as a better interlocutor with China. Long-term planning is essential, he emphasized.