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China, Ecuador relations to improve when Xi visits

Xinhua | Updated: 2016-11-10 18:54

BEIJING -- Bilateral ties between China and Ecuador will be strengthened by Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit next week, Jose Maria Borja, the Ecuadorian Ambassador to China, said in an interview with Xinhua.

Xi will be the first Chinese President to visit Ecuador since diplomatic relations were established in 1980.

"It's a historic visit, which will further cement bilateral ties," Borja said.

Cooperation on technology, investment and infrastructure construction has grown rapidly in recent years. China's non-financial investment in Ecuador reached 6 billion U.S. dollars at the end of March. Ecuador invested in 42 projects in China, with combined investment of 8.63 million dollars.

Borja spoke highly of China's contribution to Ecuador's development. Like many Latin American nations, Ecuador used to be faced with power shortages. Nine hydropower stations have been built or are under construction since President Rafael Correa took office in 2007. Of them, eight were built by Chinese companies. Ecuador now not only meets its domestic electricity demand, but has surplus power to export.

Borja said China's Belt and Road Initiative will bring great opportunities for Latin American nations to build trade and economic ties with Central Asia.

China's presence in Ecuador is palpable and useful, Borja said, speaking of China's humanitarian aid to the country in the aftermath of the earthquake that devastated towns along the northern coast in April, leaving over 600 people dead and nearly 30,000 homeless.

Personal exchanges between China and Ecuador go back a long way, he said. In the 19th century, Chinese laborers went to Latin America for work. Currently, around 70,000 ethnic Chinese live in Ecuador, while 500 Ecuadorian students study in China.

Borja also hoped more Chinese would visit his home country to experience its variety of climates, biodiversity and breathtaking landscape.

He expects the number of Chinese tourists to exceed 18,000 this year, up from 16,000 in 2015.

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