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Chinese president pledges further support for Ecuador's post-quake rebuilding

Editor: Wang Lingxiao 丨Xinhua

11-19-2016 23:06 BJT

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

QUITO, Nov. 18 (Xinhua) -- Visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping on Friday promised further support in disaster relief and reconstruction for the earthquake-hit Ecuador.

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks when visiting the headquarters of Ecuador

Chinese President Xi Jinping speaks when visiting the headquarters of Ecuador's national emergency response system ECU-911 in Quito, Ecuador, Nov. 18, 2016. (Xinhua/Ma Zhancheng)

"China will take an active part in Ecuador's post-quake rebuilding, and continue to provide support in housing, medical treatment, human resources and disaster prevention and reduction," Xi said in an address when visiting the headquarters of Ecuador's national emergency response system ECU-911.

Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa accompanied Xi during the visit.

Ecuador was hit by a 7.8-magnitude earthquake in April this year. Close to 700 people were killed in the earthquake, which also injured nearly 5,000 more and displaced 80,000.

China was one of the first countries to supply humanitarian aid immediately after the quake.

"(China) believes that the Ecuadorian people will surely overcome the disaster and rebuild your homes," the Chinese president said, noting that post-quake reconstruction is a top priority for the Latin American country.

For his part, Correa thanked China for its support in Ecuador's post-quake relief and national development, adding that the Latin American country is willing to deepen win-win cooperation with the Chinese side.

Earlier in the morning, the two presidents also watched a photo exhibition on Chinese aid to Ecuador's quake relief work, and inaugurated a joint laboratory at ECU-911 headquarters.

Developed by Chinese companies, the ECU-911 played a vital role in relief work following the April quake, by effectively processing a massive amount of information and sending instructions without delay, thus saving numerous lives and preventing further damage.

Currently, there are 16 ECU-911 centers across Ecuador.

In a video call with staff of the ECU-911 center in Portoviejo in the quake-hit coastal province of Manabi, Xi conveyed greetings to Ecuadorian people affected by the earthquake on behalf of the Chinese government and its people.

The Chinese government will continue to fight side by side with Ecuadorians, and together they will triumph in quake relief and reconstruction, he said.

China provided Ecuador with cash support of two million U.S. dollars and humanitarian aid worth 9.2 million dollars after the strong quake. Chinese companies owning business in Ecuador also dispatched staff and resources to the affected regions to participate in the disaster relief and humanitarian aid.

"I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to Mr. President for your country's aid to Ecuador," said Pablo Cordova, a survivor from the April earthquake.

Cordova was trapped in the debris of a Portoviejo hotel where he worked as a cleaner when the earthquake struck for 48 hours before being pulled out by ECU-911 staff. He now works at the ECU-911 Portoviejo center.

"All this time, you have been with us," he told the Chinese president.

On Friday morning, Xi and Correa also watched via live broadcast the foundation stone laying ceremony of a new hospital built with Chinese assistance in the earthquake-stricken Ecuadorian city of Chone, to replace the one that was seriously damaged in the April earthquake.

They also inaugurated a hydroelectric plant built by China's Sinohydro Corporation.

The Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant is the largest of its kind in Ecuador's history and the "fruition of the great cooperation between Ecuador and China", according to President Correa.

"This is a historic day," the Ecuadorian president said.

With an installed capacity of 1,500 megawatts, the plant is expected to help Ecuador transform from a power-hungry country into a clean energy exporter and greatly contribute to the country's economic development.

The first four of the eight turbines in total at the plant were started on April 13, only three days before the quake. It remained intact during the quake and the power it generated helped with local disaster relief.

In his address, Xi noted that the upgrading of the ECU-911, and rebuilding of the Chone hospital and the completion of the Coca Codo Sinclair hydroelectric plant will effectively bolster Ecuador's disaster prevention and resistance capabilities, and improve its public infrastructure.

According to Xi, enhanced cooperation between China and Ecuador is attributed to both sides' firm belief in their development prospects and full understandings of the development opportunities they provided for each other.

On Thursday, China and Ecuador lifted their relations to a comprehensive strategic partnership, and pledged to implement major projects in oil and gas, mining, infrastructure, water conservancy, communication and finance, and explore cooperation in agriculture, petrochemical industry, ship building, metallurgy and paper making industries.

China is willing to deepen cooperation with Ecuador, seek common development and together draft a new chapter in their comprehensive strategic partnership, said the Chinese president.

Correa, meanwhile, agreed that cooperation between Ecuador and China has improved infrastructure in the Latin American country, boosted its clean energy development and bolstered the country's public security service.

All these have benefited the Ecuadorian people, he said.

Ecuador is the first leg of President Xi's three-nation Latin American tour which will also take him to Peru and Chile. This is his third visit to Latin America since he took the presidency in March 2013.

He will also attend the 24th Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Economic Leaders' Meeting while in Lima, capital of Peru.

Also on Friday morning, Xi laid a wreath at the monument to independence heroes in Quito.

Xi arrived in Ecuador on Thursday for a state visit, the first trip to the country by a Chinese head of state in 36 years, and the first leg of his three-nation tour to the continent.

The week-long trip will also take the Chinese president 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.

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