Uruguay hosts highest Chinese official to ever visit the country
Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao arrived in Uruguay Friday, his first stop on a multi-nation visit to South America. Wen's arrival marks the first time a Chinese premier has visited Uruguay since diplomatic ties were established in 1988.
In a statement, Wen said that he and his counterparts would discuss international and regional issues of mutual interest.
During his stay in Uruguay, Wen held private talks with President Jose Mujica and also met with Vice-President Danilo Astori, and the President of the Chamber of Representatives Jorge Orrico.
A Uruguayan foreign ministry source said there was strong government interest in having Chinese investors fund the building of a deepwater port in the southeast department of Rocha.
Wen, whose stay wraps up Saturday, is also scheduled to visit Chile and Argentina on his trip to the region.
Premier Wen Jiabao's visit to Uruguay will be significant for strengthening political mutual trust and deepening friendly cooperation between the two countries, Chinese Ambassador to Uruguay Qu Shengwu told the Chinese news agency Xinhua.
“It will be another major diplomatic event between the two countries after Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to Uruguay last year and Uruguayan Foreign Minister Luis Almagro's visit to China earlier this year”, said Qu Shengwu.
Bilateral relations have been developing smoothly and friendly cooperation between the two sides in various fields has been grown sustainedly since China and Uruguay established diplomatic ties in 1988, Qu said.
Bilateral trade reached 3.4 billion dollars in 2011, growing nearly 30% year-on-year, despite the international financial crisis and the sluggish world economy, pointed out the Chinese ambassador.
Currently China has become not only Uruguay's second largest trade partner but has been the largest importer of Uruguay's wool, soybeans and paper pulp.
As bilateral ties forge ahead, people-to-people exchanges have become closer between the two countries, Qu said.
More and more Uruguayans are interested in learning the Chinese language and culture. Over 30 students from Uruguay are studying in China, Qu said.
During his stay in Uruguay, Wen will meet with Uruguayan President Jose Mujica, Vice President Danilo Astori, and President of the Chamber of Representatives Jorge Orrico.
The two sides will release a joint statement and sign a series of cooperation agreements in the fields of economy, technology, and agriculture and quality surveillance.
Uruguayan Foreign minister Almagro described relations with Beijing as “excellent” during a recent visit to China and underlined the investment possibilities Uruguay has to offer an expanding economy as China.