China will further strengthen its ties with Latin America, an emerging region which has balanced the global power pattern, President Hu Jintao said on Thursday.
Hu made the remarks during a meeting with visiting Costa Rican President Laura Chinchilla Miranda at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing.
“As an important emerging power, Latin American nations have actively become involved in international affairs and powerfully pushed the global power pattern to be more balanced,” Hu told Chinchilla, according to a press release issued by the Foreign Ministry.
China attaches great importance to its ties with the region and would like to push them to a higher level, he said.
Costa Rica plays a special and important role in the region, the president said. Costa Rica was the first Central American nation to set up diplomatic ties with Beijing.
Ministry of Commerce spokesman Shen Danyang said on Thursday that China’s investment in Latin America surged 67.7 percent in the first seven months of this year compared with the same period last year.
Trade between China and the region rose to $241.5 billion in 2011. China is now the second-largest trading partner of Latin America.
Premier Wen Jiabao said when he visited the region in June that Beijing wants to trade volume to top $400 billion in five years.
Costa Rican Ambassador to China Marco Vinicio Ruiz told Chinese media on the eve of Chinchilla’s visit that his country had taken note of Wen’s message and had seen that Beijing wants deeper relations with Latin America.
Costa Rica, which will take the rotating presidency of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean States in 2014, will help achieve that goal, he said.
The Costa Rican president told Hu on Thursday that her country appreciates China’s support since the two established diplomatic ties in 2007.
“Facts proved that establishing diplomatic ties with China was a wise and correct choice of Costa Rica,” she said.
Chinchilla told China Daily on Wednesday that in the past five years Costa Rica has sent a variety of products into the Chinese market and seen expanded investment and technology cooperation.
Many students from Costa Rica received scholarships from the Chinese government to learn in the Chinese capital, while Chinese language teaching centers have been set up in Costa Rica.
The president also considered introducing a project that followed the blueprint of the Suzhou Industrial Park, a project jointly developed by Chinese and Singapore governments since 1994, and parts of China’s education system, into Costa Rica.
“Unlike other places, I see many opportunities in China that will benefit our country,” she said.
Chinchilla, the first female president in Costa Rica, started her weeklong visit to China on Tuesday. Aside from Beijing and Shanghai, she also visited Suzhou in East China’s Jiangsu province to view the Suzhou Industrial Park.
She is scheduled to meet other Chinese leaders on Friday.