SANTIAGO, Jan. 22 (Xinhua) — Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Monday hailed the achievements made in the cooperation between China and Latin American and the Caribbean (LAC) countries in the past three years and called on relevant countries to keep the momentum.
Wang was attending the second ministerial meeting under the framework of China and the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States (CELAC) Forum. The inaugural meeting of the mechanism was convened in Beijing in January 2015.
In his speech, Wang read a congratulatory letter from Chinese President Xi Jinping, who spoke highly of the development of the China-CELAC Forum in the three years following its inception and proposed that the China-LAC partnership be led by joint efforts to implement the Belt and Road Initiative.
Wang said Xi’s letter reflected China’s sincere willingness to advance cooperation with countries in the region to realize common development.
Cooperation under the China-CELAC Forum, Wang noted, has achieved fruitful results thanks to both sides sticking to the principles of mutual respect and equal treatment, as well as their consistent commitment to jointly seeking cooperation and development.
Wang said the mechanism achieved early harvests in 13 key projects in the past three years covering such areas as trade, finance and energy, adding that China has been steadfastly implementing a package of financing arrangements for its partners.
In addition, Wang said the social foundation for the China-LAC partnership has been further consolidated, with China delivering its promises by granting government-sponsored scholarships to students from LAC countries, organizing personnel training and promoting exchanges among political parties.
Exchange programs between the two sides have also benefited young scientists and people in the media industry, according to the foreign minister, who further pointed out that the ministerial-level dialogues, the national coordinators’ meetings, as well as the 17 rounds of forums covering a broad spectrum of areas have built the mechanism into an institutialized one.
As the partnership sails toward the next phase, the foreign minister suggested that China and the LAC countries seize the opportunity of jointly building the Belt and Road, promote cooperation under what is known as the “1+3+6” framework, and strive for an upgrading and innovative development of China-LAC cooperation.
In July 2014, Xi laid out the “1+3+6” cooperation framework in his keynote speech at a China-LAC summit held in Brasilia, Brazil.
The “1” refers to the China-LAC Countries Cooperation Plan 2015-2019 by which specific cooperation projects should be guided. The “3” identifies three driving forces for cooperation, namely trade, investment and finance. The “6” prioritizes six fields of cooperation, including energy and resources, infrastructure construction, agriculture, manufacturing, scientific and technological innovation, as well as information technology.
Specifically, Wang made a four-point suggestion, saying China and the LAC countries should jointly build “grand connectivity” covering both sea and land, cultivate “grand markets” that are open and reciprocal, create “grand industries” featuring advanced and independent technologies, and launch “grand communication” based on equality and mutual trust.
The foreign minister called on the two sides to make Monday’s meeting a fresh starting point for a new phase of China-LAC partnership characterized by expanded cooperation, more favorable structures, a stronger driving force and better qualities.
Officials representing LAC countries at the meeting lauded the cooperation outcomes in the past three years and the active role the China-CELAC Forum played during the process.
They unanimously agreed that the Belt and Road Initiative has provided their countries with ample development opportunities. They expressed the hope that by learning from China’s experience and joining the Belt and Road Initiative, the LAC countries will achieve common development with China.