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Xi arrives in Ecuador, kicking off third LatAm visit since 2013


11-18-2016 06:09 BJT

Full coverage: Xi Visits Ecuador, Peru and Chile, Attends APEC Summit

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QUITO, Nov. 17 (Xinhua) -- Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived here Thursday afternoon, kicking off a state visit to Ecuador and his third visit to Latin America since he took office in 2013.

Besides Ecuador, the week-long tour will also take him to Peru and Chile. In Peru, Xi will attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting from Nov. 19 to 20 in the capital city of Lima.

Xi's Quito trip is the first state visit by a Chinese head of state to Ecuador in 36 years since the two countries forged diplomatic relations in 1980.

During his stay in Quito, Xi will exchange views with Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa on bilateral ties, according to Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Wang Chao.

The two presidents will also witness the signing of a series of deals, meet with the press and attend a launch ceremony of an assistance program together. A joint statement is expected to be issued by the two sides.

Xi will also meet with Ecuadorian President of the National Assembly Gabriela Rivadeneira, Wang said.

Ecuador hopes President Xi's "historic" visit leads to strengthening strategic ties, Ecuadorian Foreign Minister Guillaume Long told Xinhua ahead of the visit, adding that "the ties with China in recent years have been very fruitful, very significant."

Since President Correa came to power in 2007, Ecuador has focused on deepening ties with China. The Ecuadorian president's first official trip to Beijing took place in the same year of his inauguration, to bolster cooperation with China in different fields, from energy, science and technology, to economy, trade and education.

In 2015, during his second China visit, Correa and Xi agreed to elevate bilateral ties to the level of a strategic partnership.

In Quito, the two presidents are expected to blueprint the future of bilateral relations and work to further promote the strategic partnership.

"China views and grows its relations with Ecuador from a strategic and long-term perspective," President Xi said in a bylined article on Ecuador's leading newspaper El Telegrafo on Wednesday, one day before his visit.

Despite the long distance, China has become Ecuador's third largest trading partner, with two-way trade reaching 4.1 billion U.S. dollars in 2015, quadrupling in just 10 years.

And Ecuador is now a major destination for Chinese investment and financing in Latin America. Chinese investment and financing in Ecuador has exceeded 10 billion dollars, supporting hundreds of projects including major infrastructure projects such as the Coca Codo Sinclair hydropower plant, seven other hydropower plants and a dozen of highways.

"I look forward to having in-depth exchanges with President Correa and friends from various sectors of Ecuador to take China-Ecuador relations to a new height," Xi said in the article. 

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